In situ spectroscopic study of CO2 electroreduction at copper electrodes in acetonitrile

Marta Costa Figueiredo, Isis Ledezma-Yanez, Marc T.M. Koper (Corresponding author)

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200 Citations (Scopus)


The electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) into valuable compounds is a promising route toward the valorization of this molecule of high environmental impact. Yet, an industrial process involving CO2 electroreduction is still far from reality and requires deep and fundamental studies for a further understanding and better development of the process. In this work, we describe in situ spectroelectrochemical studies based on Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy of the CO2 reduction in acetonitrile solutions at copper electrodes. The influence of factors such as the water content and the supporting electrolyte on the reaction products were evaluated and compared to products obtained on metal electrodes other than Cu, such as Pt, Pb, Au, Pd, and Ag. The results show that at Cu electrodes in acetonitrile containing small amounts of water, the main reaction products from CO2 reduction are carbonate, bicarbonate, and CO. The formation of CO was observed at less-negative potentials than the formation of (bi)carbonates, and the formation of carbonate and bicarbonate species appears to be the result of a reaction with electrochemically generated OH- from water reduction. In general, our experiments show the sensitivity of the CO2 reduction reaction to the presence of water, even at the residual level. (Chemical Equation Presented).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2382-2392
Number of pages11
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • acetonitrile
  • carbon dioxide
  • Cu electrodes
  • electroreduction
  • organic solvents


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