Substituent Effects in the Pyridinium Catalyzed Reduction of CO2 to Methanol: Further Mechanistic Insights

Emily E. Barton Cole, Maor F. Baruch, Robert P. L'Esperance, Michael T. Kelly, Prasad S. Lakkaraju, Elizabeth L. Zeitler, Andrew B. Bocarsly

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27 Scopus citations


A series of substituted pyridiniums were examined for their catalytic ability to electrochemically reduce carbon dioxide to methanol. It is found that in general increased basicity of the nitrogen of the amine and higher LUMO energy of the pyridinium correlate with enhanced carbon dioxide reduction. The highest faradaic yield for methanol production at a platinum electrode was 39 ± 4 % for 4-aminopyridine compared to 22 ± 2 % for pyridine. However, 4-tertbutyl and 4-dimethylamino pyridine showed decreased catalytic behavior, contrary to the enhanced activity associated with the increased basicity and LUMO energy, and suggesting that steric effects also play a significant role in the behavior of pyridinium electrocatalysts. Mechanistic models for the the reaction of the pyridinium with carbon dioxide are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-22
Number of pages8
JournalTopics in Catalysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 30 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


  • CO to methanol conversion
  • Electrochemical CO reduction
  • Pyridinium catalyzed CO Reduction


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