Stojkovikj, S.; El-Nagar, G.A.; Firschke, F.; Pardo Pérez, L.C.; Choubrac, L.; Najdoski, M.; Mayer, M.T.: Electrocatalyst Derived from Waste Cu–Sn Bronze for CO2 Conversion into CO. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 13 (2021), p. 38161–38169
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To sustainably exist within planetary boundaries, we must greatly curtail our extraction of fuels and materials from the Earth. This requires new technologies based on reuse and repurposing of material already available. Electrochemical conversion of CO2 into valuable chemicals and fuels is a promising alternative to deriving them from fossil fuels. But most metals used for electrocatalysis are either endangered or at serious risk of limitation to their future supply. Here, we demonstrate a combined strategy for repurposing of a waste industrial Cu–Sn bronze as a catalyst material precursor and its application toward CO2 reuse. By a simple electrochemical transfer method, waste bronzes with composition Cu14Sn were anodically dissolved and cathodically redeposited under dynamic hydrogen bubble template conditions to yield mesoporous foams with Cu10Sn surface composition. The bimetal foam electrodes exhibited high CO2 electroreduction selectivity toward CO, achieving greater than 85% faradaic efficiency accompanied by a considerable suppression of the competing H2 evolution reaction. The Cu–Sn foam electrodes showed good durability over several hours of continuous electrolysis without any significant change in the composition, morphology, and selectivity for CO as a target product.