Molecular cobalt corrole complex for the heterogeneous electrocatalytic reduction of carbon dioxide

Gonglach, S. and Paul, S. and Haas, M. and Pillwein, F. and Sreejith, S.S. and Barman, S. and De, R. and Müllegger, S. and Gerschel, P. and Apfel, U.-P. and Coskun, H. and Aljabour, A. and Stadler, P. and Schöfberger, W. and Roy, S.

Volume: 10 Pages:
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11868-5
Published: 2019

Electrochemical conversion of CO2 to alcohols is one of the most challenging methods of conversion and storage of electrical energy in the form of high-energy fuels. The challenge lies in the catalyst design to enable its real-life implementation. Herein, we demonstrate the synthesis and characterization of a cobalt(III) triphenylphosphine corrole complex, which contains three polyethylene glycol residues attached at the meso-phenyl groups. Electron-donation and therefore reduction of the cobalt from cobalt(III) to cobalt(I) is accompanied by removal of the axial ligand, thus resulting in a square-planar cobalt(I) complex. The cobalt(I) as an electron-rich supernucleophilic d8-configurated metal centre, where two electrons occupy and fill up the antibonding dz 2 orbital. This orbital possesses high affinity towards electrophiles, allowing for such electronically configurated metals reactions with carbon dioxide. Herein, we report the potential dependent heterogeneous electroreduction of CO2 to ethanol or methanol of an immobilized cobalt A3-corrole catalyst system. In moderately acidic aqueous medium (pH = 6.0), the cobalt corrole modified carbon paper electrode exhibits a Faradaic Efficiency (FE%) of 48 % towards ethanol production. © 2019, The Author(s).

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