Selective ligand modification of cobalt porphyrins for carbon dioxide electrolysis: Generation of a renewable H2/CO feedstock for downstream catalytic hydrogenation

Joshua Jack, Eunsol Park, Pin Ching Maness, Shaofeng Huang, Wei Zhang, Zhiyong Jason Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Catalytic hydrogenation is an attractive approach to produce green fuels and chemicals. The building blocks for these processes may be effectively produced from renewable power via direct electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide in an aqueous media. For the first time, the impact of increasing the local proton concentration of cobalt porphyrin was examined by synthesizing new cobalt porphyrins 2, Co(o-OCH3)TPP and cobalt porphyrin 3, Co(o-OH)TPP. Cobalt porphyrins coated on carbon paper converted carbon dioxide and water into a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide in an aqueous electrolyte at near neutral pH. Increasing the local proton availability of the commercial cobalt porphyrin 1, accelerates hydrogen generation under heterogeneous conditions across the range of potentials tested (−0.85 to −1.5 V vs. Ag/AgCl) and demonstrates high Faradaic efficiencies (ca. 90%) at low over-potentials (ca. 540 mV). The culmination of this work can help identify key parameters that facilitate generation of sustainable reagents for catalytic hydrogenation under practical and scalable conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number119594
JournalInorganica Chimica Acta
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


  • Catalytic hydrogenation
  • Electrocatalytic CO reduction
  • Heterogeneous electrocatalysis
  • Local proton source
  • Modified ligand porphyrin


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