From Materials to Efficient Catalysis: Electrocatalytic Semi-hydrogenation of Alkynols with Earth-Abundant Metal Chalcogenides
Kevinjeorjios Pellumbi, Fraunhofer UMSICHT / Ruhr-University Bochum, Oberhausen, Deutschland
In recent years, electrochemical hydrogenation reactions gained interest as a tunable and sustainable alternative for conventional thermal catalysis. Albeit its promising perspectives, the large scale implementation of electrochemical hydrogenation (ECH) is currently limited to a few selected reactions in the chemical industry. One main problem is the gap between the academically investigated and the industrially relevant scale. Because of their low resistance and scalability, the implementation of zero-gap cells is a crucial tool for the industrial application of electrocatalytic processes; still, only a handful examples for the application of zero-gap cells are reported in literature. Another issue with state-of-the-art ECH systems is the use of noble metal catalysts, especially palladium. As a non-noble metal alternative, Pentlandite (Fe,Co,Ni)9S8 materials were found to produce surface bound hydride species under reductive conditions and already demonstrated promising electrocatalytic activity regarding hydrogen evolution and carbon dioxide reduction. Therefore, we investigated the activity of these materials for the electrochemical hydrogenation of the industrially relevant alkynol 2-methylbut-3-yn-2-ol. Further, we tested the most promising catalyst under scaled-up conditions in a zero-gap cell.