Electrochemical CO2 reduction to formic acid on crystalline SnO2 nanosphere catalyst with high selectivity and stability

Yishu Fu, Yanan Li, Xia Zhang, Yuyu Liu, Xiaodong Zhou, Jinli Qiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


A novel catalyst for CO2 electroreduction based on nanostructured SnO2 was synthesized using a facile hydrothermal self-assembly method. The electrochemical activity showed that the catalyst gave outstanding catalytic activity and selectivity in CO2 electroreduction. The catalytic activity and formate selectivity depended strongly on the electrolyte conditions. A high faradaic efficiency, i.e., 56%, was achieved for formate formation in KHCO3 (0.5 mol/L). This is attributed to control of formate production by mass and charge transfer processes. Electrolysis experiments using SnO2-50/GDE (an SnO2-based gas-diffusion electrode, where 50 indicates the 50% ethanol content of the electrolyte) as the catalyst, showed that the electrolyte pH also affected CO2 reduction. The optimum electrolyte pH for obtaining a high faradaic efficiency for formate production was 8.3. This is mainly because a neutral or mildly alkaline environment maintains the oxide stability. The faradaic efficiency for formate production declined with time. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy showed that this is the result of deposition of trace amounts of fluoride ions on the SnO2-50/GDE surface, which hinders reduction of CO2 to formate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1081-1088
Number of pages8
JournalCuihua Xuebao/Chinese Journal of Catalysis
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 1


  • Carbon dioxide reduction
  • Faradaic efficiency
  • Formate
  • Tin dioxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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