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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10 Citations (Scopus)


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


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