Electrochemical conversion of CO2 has been proposed both as a way to reduce CO2 emissions and as a source of renewable fuels and chemicals, but conversion rates need improvement before the process will be practical. In this article, we show that the rate of CO2 conversion per unit surface area is about 10 times higher on 5 nm silver nanoparticles than on bulk silver even though measurements on single crystal catalysts show much smaller variations in rate. The enhancement disappears on 1 nm particles. We attribute this effect to a volcano effect associated with changes of the binding energy of key intermediates as the particle size decreases. These results demonstrate that nanoparticle catalysts have unique properties for CO 2 conversion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films