Converting CO2 into butanol using phosphorous-rich copper cathodes

By Helen Tavares Kennedy

In South Korea, scientists from the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology proposed a reaction for the highly selective production of 1-butanol, a valuable alternative fuel, by electrochemical reduction using copper phosphide electrodes. Their findings offer a new insight on the use of Cu-based electrocatalysts for the electroreduction of CO2.

The team of scientists reported an electrochemical reduction reaction pathway that can avoid CO dimerization to produce 1-butanol from CO2 using copper phosphide as a cathode. They came up with a procedure that directly generates 1-butanol with the help of copper phosphide (CuP2) without first undergoing CO dimerization.

“We are trying to develop a Cu-based electrode for electrochemical conversion of CO2 that avoids *CO dimerization and can help us increase the selectivity of the product so that additional power consumption from separation processes can be avoided,” explains Mr. Minjun Choi, a Ph.D. student at the university and the paper’s first author.

The team is excited about the implications of their findings. “Our goal is to design new electrodes that are stackable, that can increase production rates, and that can promote conversion efficiency so that we can make our goal of converting and using CO2 as a fuel in reality,” said team lead Dr. Jaeyoung Lee.

This article appeared on the Biofuels Digest website at


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