Effect of Chloride Anions on the Synthesis and Enhanced Catalytic Activity of Silver Nanocoral Electrodes for CO2 Electroreduction

Yu Chi Hsieh, Sanjaya D. Senanayake, Yu Zhang, Wenqian Xu, Dmitry E. Polyansky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

177 Citations (Scopus)


Metallic silver (Ag) is known as an efficient electrocatalyst for the conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) to carbon monoxide (CO) in aqueous or nonaqueous electrolytes. However, polycrystalline silver electrocatalysts require significant overpotentials in order to achieve high selectivity toward CO2 reduction, as compared to the side reaction of hydrogen evolution. Here we report a high-surface-area Ag nanocoral catalyst, fabricated by an oxidation-reduction method in the presence of chloride anions in an aqueous medium, for the electro-reduction of CO2 to CO with a current efficiency of 95% at the low overpotential of 0.37 V and the current density of 2 mA cm-2. A lower limit of TOF of 0.4 s-1 and TON > 8.8 × 104 (over 72 h) was estimated for the Ag nanocoral catalyst at an overpotential of 0.49 V. The Ag nanocoral catalyst demonstrated a 32-fold enhancement in surface-area-normalized activity, at an overpotential of 0.49 V, as compared to Ag foil. We found that, in addition to the effect on nanomorphology, the adsorbed chloride anions play a critical role in the observed enhanced activity and selectivity of the Ag nanocoral electrocatalyst toward CO2 reduction. Synchrotron X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) studies along with a series of control experiments suggest that the chloride anions, remaining adsorbed on the catalyst surface under electrocatalytic conditions, can effectively inhibit the side reaction of hydrogen evolution and enhance the catalytic performance for CO2 reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5349-5356
Number of pages8
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jul 30 2015


  • carbon dioxide reduction
  • chloride modification
  • electrocatalysis
  • high selectivity
  • nanoporous Ag

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)

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