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Production of formate from CO2 electrochemical reduction and its application in energy storage

Lookup NU author(s): Hang Xiang, Dr Henriette Christensen, Emeritus Professor Keith Scott, Dr Shahid Rasul, Professor Eileen Yu



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Royal Society of Chemistry, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Production of liquid fuels by electrochemical CO2 reduction (eCO2R) is an attractive option for energy storage in the form of renewable energy. This study focuses on efficient formate production using an eCO2R system and its application in generating power using a direct formate fuel cell (DFFC). A carbon black supported SnO2 catalyst was used for the eCO2R in a gas diffusion reactor using a 1.0 M KOH electrolyte. An average faradaic efficiency of 80% for formate production was achieved over a wide electrode potential range (−0.63 to −1.43 V vs. RHE). Since the overall current density varied linearly with the overpotential, the rate of formate production could be easily controlled by varying the applied potential. At a current density of 251 mA cm−2 (−1.43 V), a high formate production rate was achieved at 3 mg min−1 cmWE −2 resulting in 0.5 M formate being produced within 1 hour. This formate solution was directly used as the fuel for a DFFC, without pre-treatment. The fuel cell consisted of a Pd–CeO2/C anode and FeCo/C cathode and produced a peak power density of 92 mW cm−2. A closed loop of “electricity–formate–electricity” has been realized in this study, signifying the promising future of sustainable CO2 conversion to liquid fuels for CO2 fixation as well as for energy storage.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Xiang H, Miller H, Bellini M, Christensen H, Scott K, Rasul S, Yu EH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Sustainable Energy and Fuels

Year: 2020

Volume: 4

Issue: 1

Pages: 277-284

Print publication date: 01/01/2020

Online publication date: 09/12/2019

Acceptance date: 19/10/2019

Date deposited: 10/12/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2398-4902

Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry


DOI: 10.1039/C9SE00625G


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