Current Status and Bioinspired Perspective of Electrochemical Conversion of CO2 to a Long-Chain Hydrocarbon

Ki Dong Yang, Chan Woo Lee, Kyoungsuk Jin, Sang Won Im, Ki Tae Nam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)


Electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 into a long-chain hydrocarbon represents an important research direction in adding value to CO2-based chemicals and realizing its practical application. Long-chain hydrocarbons may change the current fossil fuel-based industry in that those chemicals have a similar energy density as gasoline, high compatibility with the current infrastructure, and low hydroscopicity for pipeline distribution. However, most of the electrocatalysts produce C1, C2, and C3 chemicals, and methods for producing long-chain hydrocarbons are not available thus far. Interestingly, nature utilizes many enzymes to generate long-chain hydrocarbons using C2 building blocks and suggests key mechanisms, inspiring new perspective in the design of electrocatalysts. In this Perspective, we present case studies to demonstrate how CO2 and its reductive derivatives interact with the electrode surface during C-C bond formation and introduce how these issues are addressed in biological systems. We end this Perspective by outlining possible strategies to translate the natural mechanism into a heterogeneous electrode.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538-545
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 19
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE) under the Industrial Strategic Technology Development Program, Korea (0417-2016-0019) and by the KIST Institutional Program (2E00000).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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