The electrocatalytic conversion of carbon dioxide has long been of interest in CO2 utilization because it achieves the utilization of the greenhouse gas as a carbon source through energy from renewable sources. However, due to the high stability of the molecule, its activation remains a challenge, so many research groups around the world are currently trying to develop suitable molecular catalyst systems based on transition metals.
In the perspective article recently published in the journal Angewandte Chemie/Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Prof. Walter Leitner and the members of his research group "Molecular Catalysis" give an overview of research activities in this field. The focus here is on the products that can be obtained in molecular electrocatalytic CO2 reduction (e.g., carbon monoxide, formic acid, and oxalic acid) and the reaction mechanisms leading to these molecules. In addition, the authors compare the product selectivity of catalysts reported in the literature based on their current efficiencies.
In addition to a review of the literature published to date, the authors also present opportunities for expanding the achievable product range in the future. By enabling the formation of more complex and thus more valuable products, both chemically and economically, there is a further opportunity for the transition from fossil to renewable resources. Additionally, the approach holds the potential for technologies with economic, environmental, and social benefits for humanity.
Original publication: Niklas W. Kinzel, Christophe Werlé, Walter Leitner (2021) Transition Metal Complexes as Catalysts for the Electroconversion of CO2: An Organometallic Perspective Angewandte Chemie International Edition, https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.202006988
Original Publication (German Edition): Niklas W. Kinzel, Christophe Werlé, Walter Leitner (2021) Übergangsmetallkomplexe als Katalysatoren für die elektrische Umwandlung von CO2 – eine metallorganische Perspektive Angewandte Chemie, https://doi.org/10.1002/ange.202006988