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.[2] 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.[3] 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.

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