Electrochemically generated copper carbonyl for selective dimethyl carbonate synthesis

Bethan J.V. Davies, Manuel Šarić, Marta C. Figueiredo, Niels C. Schjødt, Søren Dahl, Poul Georg Moses, María Escudero-Escribano (Corresponding author), Matthias Arenz (Corresponding author), Jan Rossmeisl (Corresponding author)

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Development of electrochemical synthesis routes for high-value chemicals could pave the way for a sustainable chemical industry based on electricity. Herein, the electrochemical synthesis of the industrially relevant and environmentally benign reagent, dimethyl carbonate (DMC), is investigated. By utilizing a combination of electrochemical techniques, in situ infrared spectroscopy, and headspace-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry we show production and spectroelectrochemical evidence for the synthesis of DMC via an electrochemically generated copper carbonyl species. The formation of the copper carbonyl has close to 100% current efficiency, in the applied potential range of 0.1-0.4 V vs SCE. Subsequent formation of DMC occurs with a slow reaction time on the order of 30-40 days. Relative to potential coproducts, the reaction is highly selective for DMC. Optimization of the reaction may lead to a viable method of DMC production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-866
Number of pages8
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes



  • copper
  • dimethyl carbonate
  • electrosynthesis
  • methanol
  • spectroelectrochemistry

Cite this

Davies, B. J. V., Šarić, M., Figueiredo, M. C., Schjødt, N. C., Dahl, S., Moses, P. G., ... Rossmeisl, J. (2019). Electrochemically generated copper carbonyl for selective dimethyl carbonate synthesis. ACS Catalysis, 9(2), 859-866. https://doi.org/10.1021/acscatal.8b03682