Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (3): 75-93.doi: 10.1016/j.cjche.2020.10.029

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Ionic liquids for CO2 electrochemical reduction

Fangfang Li1, Francesca Mocci2, Xiangping Zhang3, Xiaoyan Ji1, Aatto Laaksonen1,4,5,6   

  1. 1 Energy Engineering, Division of Energy Science, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå 97187, Sweden;
    2 Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences, University of Cagliari, Monserrato 09042, Italy;
    3 CAS Key Laboratory of Green Process and Engineering, Beijing Key Laboratory of Ionic Liquids Clean Process, State Key Laboratory of Multiphase Complex Systems, Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China;
    4 Division of Physical Chemistry, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry, Arrhenius Laboratory, Stockholm University, Stockholm 10691, Sweden;
    5 Center of Advanced Research in Bionanocojugates and Biopolymers, "Petru Poni" Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, Iasi 700469, Romania;
    6 State Key Laboratory of Materials-Oriented and Chemical Engineering, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing 211816, China
  • Received:2020-09-01 Revised:2020-10-26 Online:2021-03-28 Published:2021-05-13
  • Contact: Xiaoyan Ji, Aatto Laaksonen;
  • Supported by:
    F. Li and X. Ji thank the financial support from the Swedish Energy Agency (P47500-1). A. Laaksonen acknowledges the Swedish Research Council for financial support (2019-03865), and partial support from a grant from Ministry of Research and Innovation of Romania (CNCS - UEFISCDI, project number PN-IIIP4-ID-PCCF-2016-0050, within PNCDI III). F. Mocci thanks the Fondazione di Sardegna, Project: “Precious metal-free complexes for catalytic CO2 reduction” (CUP: F71I17000170002) for the financial support.

Abstract: Electrochemical reduction of CO2 is a novel research field towards a CO2-neutral global economy and combating fast accelerating and disastrous climate changes while finding new solutions to store renewable energy in value-added chemicals and fuels. Ionic liquids (ILs), as medium and catalysts (or supporting part of catalysts) have been given wide attention in the electrochemical CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR) due to their unique advantages in lowering overpotential and improving the product selectivity, as well as their designable and tunable properties. In this review, we have summarized the recent progress of CO2 electro-reduction in IL-based electrolytes to produce higher-value chemicals. We then have highlighted the unique enhancing effect of ILs on CO2RR as templates, precursors, and surface functional moieties of electrocatalytic materials. Finally, computational chemistry tools utilized to understand how the ILs facilitate the CO2RR or to propose the reaction mechanisms, generated intermediates and products have been discussed.

Key words: Carbon dioxide, Ionic liquids, Electro-reduction, Electrolyte, Electrocatalytic material, Computer simulation