KAUST DepartmentPhysical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Division
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AbstractABSTRACT CuZn Alloy- Based Electrocatalyst for CO2 Reduction Amira Alazmi Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the major greenhouse gases and its emission is a significant threat to global economy and sustainability. Efficient CO2 conversion leads to utilization of CO2 as a carbon feedstock, but activating the most stable carbon-based molecule, CO2, is a challenging task. Electrochemical conversion of CO2 is considered to be the beneficial approach to generate carbon-containing fuels directly from CO2, especially when the electronic energy is derived from renewable energies, such as solar, wind, geo-thermal and tidal. To achieve this goal, the development of an efficient electrocatalyst for CO2 reduction is essential. In this thesis, studies on CuZn alloys with heat treatments at different temperatures have been evaluated as electrocatalysts for CO2 reduction. It was found that the catalytic activity of these electrodes was strongly dependent on the thermal oxidation temperature before their use for electrochemical measurements. The polycrystalline CuZn electrode without thermal treatment shows the Faradaic efficiency for CO formation of only 30% at applied potential ~−1.0 V vs. RHE with current density of ~−2.55 mA cm−2. In contrast, the reduction of oxide-based CuZn alloy electrode exhibits 65% Faradaic efficiency for CO at lower applied potential about −1.0 V vs. RHE with current density of −2.55 mA cm−2. Furthermore, stable activity was achieved over several hours of the reduction reaction at the modified electrodes. Based on electrokinetic studies, this improvement could be attributed to further stabilization of the CO2•− on the oxide-based Cu-Zn alloy surface.