Mechanistic insights into carbon dioxide utilization by superoxide ion generated electrochemically in ionic liquid electrolyte

Halilu, A. and Hayyan, M. and Aroua, M.K. and Yusoff, R. and Hizaddin, H.F. (2021) Mechanistic insights into carbon dioxide utilization by superoxide ion generated electrochemically in ionic liquid electrolyte. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 23 (2). pp. 1114-1126. ISSN 1463-9076

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Understanding the reaction mechanism that controls the one-electron electrochemical reduction of oxygen is essential for sustainable use of the superoxide ion (O2-) during CO2 conversion. Here, stable generation of O2- in butyltrimethylammonium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide [BMAmm+][TFSI-] ionic liquid (IL) was first detected at -0.823 V vs. Ag/AgCl using cyclic voltammetry (CV). The charge transfer coefficient associated with the process was ∼0.503. It was determined that [BMAmm+][TFSI-] is a task-specific IL with a large negative isovalue surface density accrued from the [BMAmm+] cation with negatively charged C(sp2) and C(sp3). Consequently, [BMAmm+][TFSI-] is less susceptible to the nucleophilic effect of O2- because only 8.4% O2- decay was recorded from 3 h long-term stability analysis. The CV analysis also detected that O2- mediated CO2 conversion in [BMAmm+][TFSI-] at -0.806 V vs. Ag/AgCl as seen by the disappearance of the oxidative faradaic current of O2-. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) detected the mechanism of O2- generation and CO2 conversion in [BMAmm+][TFSI-] for the first time. The EIS parameters in O2 saturated [BMAmm+][TFSI-] were different from those detected in O2/CO2 saturated [BMAmm+][TFSI-] or CO2 saturated [BMAmm+][TFSI-]. This was rationalized to be due to the formation of a [BMAmm+][TFSI-] film on the GC electrode, creating a 2.031 × 10-9 μF cm-2 double-layer capacitance (CDL). Therefore, during the O2- generation and CO2 utilization in [BMAmm+][TFSI-], the CDL increased to 5.897 μF cm-2 and 7.763 μF cm-2, respectively. The CO2 in [BMAmm+][TFSI-] was found to be highly unlikely to be electrochemically converted due to the high charge transfer resistance of 6.86 × 1018 kΩ. Subsequently, O2- directly mediated the CO2 conversion through a nucleophilic addition reaction pathway. These results offer new and sustainable opportunities for utilizing CO2 by reactive oxygen species in ionic liquid media.

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Journal Article
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Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
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10 Dec 2021 17:45
Last Modified:
11 Jan 2022 06:18