Chinese Journal of Catalysis ›› 2022, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (4): 1049-1057.DOI: 10.1016/S1872-2067(21)63947-5

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Integration of ultrafine CuO nanoparticles with two-dimensional MOFs for enhanced electrochemical CO2 reduction to ethylene

Linlin Wanga, Xin Lia, Leiduan Haoa, Song Honga, Alex W. Robertsonb, Zhenyu Suna,c,*()   

  1. aState Key Laboratory of Organic-Inorganic Composites, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, China
    bDepartment of Materials, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 3PH, UK
    cKey Laboratory of Low-Carbon Conversion Science & Engineering, Shanghai Advanced Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201210, China
  • Received:2021-07-15 Accepted:2021-07-15 Online:2022-03-05 Published:2022-03-01
  • Contact: Zhenyu Sun
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(21972010);Natural Science Foundation of Beijing(2192039)


To facilitate the electrochemical CO2 reduction (ECR) to fuels and valuable chemicals, the development of active, low cost, and selective catalysts is crucial. We report a novel ECR catalyst consisting of CuO nanoparticles with sizes ranging from 1.4 to 3.3 nm anchored on Cu metal-organic framework (Cu-MOF) nanosheets obtained through a one-step facile solvothermal method. The nanocomposites provide multiple sites for efficient ambient ECR, delivering an average C2H4 faradaic efficiency (FE) of ~50.0% at -1.1 V (referred to the reversible hydrogen electrode) in 0.1 mol/L aqueous KHCO3 using a two-compartment cell, in stark contrast to a C2H4 FE of 25.5% and 37.6% over individual CuO and Cu-MOF respectively, also surpassing most newly reported Cu-based materials under similar cathodic voltages. The C2H4 FE remains at over 45.0% even after 10.0 h of successive polarization. Also, a ~7.0 mA cm-2C2H4 partial geometric current density and 27.7% half-cell C2H4 power conversion efficiency are achieved. The good electrocatalytic performance can be attributed to the interface between CuO and Cu-MOF, with accessible metallic moieties and the unique two-dimensional structure of the Cu-MOF enhancing the adsorption and activation of CO2 molecules. This finding offers a simple avenue to upgrading CO2 to value-added hydrocarbons by rational design of MOF-based composites.

Key words: Carbon dioxide reduction, Electrocatalysis, Copper oxide, Metal-organic framework, Ethylene