In the continuous development of electrochemical CO2 reduction (ECR), Cu-based electrocatalysts have received great attention, due to their unique ability to produce high value-added multicarbon products. Of particular interest are various Cu-comprising nanocrystals, not only because they usually show better catalytic properties than bulk materials, but also because their well-defined structures and highly tunable compositions facilitate in-depth mechanistic studies. This review aims to summarize the latest developments of electrocatalysts for ECR, with a focus on systems using Cu-comprising nanocrystals. We first give a general introduction to the field of ECR, covering the significance of this process, reaction mechanisms, catalyst evaluation criteria, and electrolytic cell configurations. Next, we discuss Cu-comprising nanocrystals developed for ECR by categorizing them into four groups: monometallic copper, copper-containing bimetals/multimetals, copper compounds, and copper–metal oxide hybrids; among these groups, we choose representative examples for detailed discussion on the synthetic methods, structural and compositional reaction sensitivities, and catalyst evolution during ECR. In the last section, we outline the challenges in this field from the fundamental and applicative aspects, and give perspectives on the expansion of catalyst varieties, the identification and preservation of active sites, and the exploration of industrially relevant operations for these nanocrystals. We hope the insights provided in this review will inspire the design and development of next-generation catalysts for ECR.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Energy (miscellaneous)
- Fuel Technology