Prospects of CO2 utilization via direct heterogeneous electrochemical reduction

Devin T. Whipple, Paul J.A. Kenis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This Perspective highlights recent efforts and opportunities in the heterogeneous electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide to help address the global issues of climate change and sustainable energy production. Recent research has shown that the electrochemical reduction of CO2 can produce a variety of organic compounds such as formic acid, carbon monoxide, methane, and ethylene with high current efficiency. These products can be used as feedstocks for chemical synthesis or converted into hydrocarbon fuels. This process is of interest (i) for the recycling of CO2 as an energy carrier, thereby reducing its accumulation in the atmosphere, (ii) for the production of renewable hydrocarbon fuels from CO2, water, and renewable electricity for use as transportation fuels, and (iii) as a convenient means of storing electrical energy in chemical form to level the electrical output from intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar. Accomplishments to date in this field of study have been encouraging, yet substantial advances in catalyst, electrolyte, and reactor design are needed for CO2 utilization via electrochemical conversion to become a technology that can help address climate change and shift society to renewable energy sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3451-3458
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 16 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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