Enhanced electrocatalytic reduction of CO2/H2O to paraformaldehyde at Pt/metal oxide interfaces

Boxun Hu, Victor Stancovski, Martha Morton, Steven L. Suib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A long-standing goal of chemistry is to synthesize organic compounds from CO2 and H2O to mimic natural photosynthetic processes. Achieving this goal requires catalysts and methods that activate CO2 and split water simultaneously. Here we report such catalysts and methods for the synthesis of paraformaldehyde from CO2 and H2O at atmospheric pressure. The activation was realized by polarizing metal/metal oxide interfaces with a DC voltage or current. The selectivity to paraformaldehyde was as high as 100% and CO2 conversion up to 8%. Both Pt/CSZ and Pt/MnO2 catalysts with ionic conductivity and mixed conductivity respectively produced paraformaldehyde. The former works at high temperatures of 600-900 °C; the latter works at low temperatures of 300-450 °C. This gas-phase electrocatalysis technique provides new insight into the utilization of CO2 as a carbon source in organic chemical syntheses and in the clean activation of CO2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-283
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Catalysis A: General
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • CO activation
  • Electrocatalysis
  • Formaldehyde
  • Platinum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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