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Journal Article

AgCu Bimetallic Electrocatalysts for the Reduction of Biomass-Derived Compounds


Velasco Vélez,  Juan
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;
Department of Heterogeneous Reactions, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion;

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Sanghez de Luna, G., Ho, P. H., Sacco, A., Hernández, S., Velasco Vélez, J., Ospitali, F., et al. (2021). AgCu Bimetallic Electrocatalysts for the Reduction of Biomass-Derived Compounds. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 13(20), 23675-23688. doi:10.1021/acsami.1c02896.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-A9FD-D
The electrochemical transformation of biomass-derived compounds (e.g., aldehyde electroreduction to alcohols) is gaining increasing interest due to the sustainability of this process that can be exploited to produce value-added products from biowastes and renewable electricity. In this framework, the electrochemical conversion of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) to 2,5-bis(hydroxymethyl)furan (BHMF) is studied. Nanostructured Ag deposited on Cu is an active and selective electrocatalyst for the formation of BHMF in basic media. However, this catalyst deserves further research to elucidate the role of the morphology and size of the coated particles in its performance as well as the actual catalyst surface composition and its stability. Herein, Ag is coated on Cu open-cell foams by electrodeposition and galvanic displacement to generate different catalyst morphologies, deepening on the particle growth mechanism, and the samples are compared with bare Ag and Cu foams. The chemical–physical and electrochemical properties of the as-prepared and spent catalysts are correlated to the electroactivity in the HMF conversion and its selectivity toward the formation of BHMF during electroreduction. AgCu bimetallic nanoparticles or dendrites are formed on electrodeposited and displaced catalysts, respectively, whose surface is Cu-enriched along with electrochemical tests. Both types of bimetallic AgCu particles evidence a superior electroactive surface area as well as an enhanced charge and mass transfer in comparison with the bare Ag and Cu foams. These features together with a synergistic role between Ag and Cu superficial active sites could be related to the twofold enhanced selectivity of the Ag/Cu catalysts for the selective conversion of HMF to BHMF, that is, >80% selectivity and ∼ 100% conversion, and BHMF productivity values (0.206 and 0.280 mmol cm–2 h–1) ca. 1.5–3 times higher than those previously reported.