Electrochemical Reduction of CO2 on Copper Nanofoam Electrodes(Case 2262)

Electrochemical Reduction of CO2 on Copper Nanofoam Electrodes


Principal Investigator:


Tayhas Palmore, Ph.D. Professor

Department of Chemistry and

School of Engineering

Brown University

Providence, RI


Brief Description:


Researchers are continuously looking for ways to make use of CO2.  A challenge has been that CO2 is very stable, and reducing it to a chemically useful form isn’t easy.  While copper has been known as an electrocatalyst to reduce CO2 to useful hydrocarbons, known copper electro-reduction reactions are not commercially viable.


Novel morphologies of copper nanofoams have been developed in the labs of Tayhas Palmore, Ph.D., professor of engineering and chemistry.  Appearing as foam to the naked eye, intricate tree-like structures are revealed at one micron.  Experiments with these copper nanofoams showed CO2 converted into formic acid — a compound often used as a feedstock for microbes that produce biofuels — at a much greater efficiency than planar copper.  The reaction also produced small amounts of propylene, a useful hydrocarbon never before reported in reactions involving copper.




US patent application 15/026,304 is pending

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Margaret Shabashevich,
Manager of Operations
Office of Industry Engagement & Commercial Venturing
Brown University
401-863-7499 iecv@brown.edu
Tayhas Palmore
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