CO2 Reduction to Acetate on Mixed Metal Oxide Catalyst

A process for photoelectrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide to acetate using mixed metal oxide as catalysts

The Need

The combustion of fossil fuels produces billions of tons of carbon dioxide annually. Research indicates that greater concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has altered Earth's climate, changed the pH of the ocean, and causing other potentially damaging evironmental effects. Countries around the world, including the United States, seek ways to mitigate emissions of carbon dioxide. For many years, researchers have attempted to use electrochemistry and/or photochemistry to convert carbon dioxide to economically valuable products. However, existing systems plagued by stability issues, low efficiency, undesirable selectivity, high cost, limited reaction control. No commercially available solutions for converting carbon dioxide to economically valuable fuels or industrial chemicals currently exist.

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University, led by Dr. Robert Baker, developed a process that utilizes mixed metal oxide as catalysts for photoelectrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide to acetate. The invention is directed to copper-iron mixed oxide catalysts. Prepared by simple electro-deposition, followed by thermal annealing, this catalyst converts CO2 into acetate with over 70% faradaic efficiency.

Commercial Applications

  • Emission control
  • Renewable energy
  • Purification


  • Over 70% faradaic efficiency toward acetate production
  • No other detectable amount of byproducts
  • Low cost, earth abundant starting materials create new opportunities for energy conversion and chemical synthesis of CO2
  • Establishes Fe– Cu oxide as an efficient material for C–C bond coupling during CO2 reduction
  • Provides a new alternative for CO2 capture and sequestration

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