Potential Link between Cu Surface and Selective CO2 Electroreduction: Perspective on Future Electrocatalyst Designs

Gracita M. Tomboc, Songa Choi, Taehyun Kwon, Yun Jeong Hwang, Kwangyeol Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Citations (Scopus)


Electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2RR) product distribution has been identified to be dependent on various surface factors, including the Cu facet, morphology, chemical states, doping, etc., which can alter the binding strength of key intermediates such as *CO and *OCCO during reduction. Therefore, in-depth knowledge of the Cu catalyst surface and identification of the active species under reaction conditions aid in designing efficient Cu-based electrocatalysts. This progress report categorizes various Cu-based electrocatalysts into four main groups, namely metallic Cu, Cu alloys, Cu compounds (Cu + non-metal), and supported Cu-based catalysts (Cu supported by carbon, metal oxides, or polymers). The detailed mechanisms for the selective CO2RR are presented, followed by recent relevant developments on the synthetic procedures for preparing Cu and Cu-based nanoparticles. Herein, the potential link between the Cu surface and CO2RR performance is highlighted, especially in terms of the chemical states, but other significant factors such as defective sites and roughened morphology of catalysts are equally considered during the discussion of current studies of CO2RR with Cu-based electrocatalysts to fully understand the origin of the significant enhancement toward C2 formation. This report concludes by providing suggestions for future designs of highly selective and stable Cu-based electrocatalysts for CO2RR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1908398
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2017R1A2B3005682, NRF-2019R1A6A1A11044070, 2019R1A2C2005521), Yonsei-KIST Convergence Research Program, the Hydrogen Energy Innovation Technology Development Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korean government (Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT)) (NRF-2019M3E6A1064709) and Korea Basic Science Institute under the R&D program (Project No. C38530) supervised by the Ministry of Science.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • CO electroreduction
  • catalyst surfaces
  • copper
  • oxidation states
  • selectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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