Catalysis Letters

, Volume 149, Issue 3, pp 860–869 | Cite as

Selective and Low Overpotential Electrochemical CO2 Reduction to Formate on CuS Decorated CuO Heterostructure

  • Amaha Woldu Kahsay
  • Kassa Belay Ibrahim
  • Meng-Che Tsai
  • Mulatu Kassie Birhanu
  • Soressa Abera Chala
  • Wei-Nien SuEmail author
  • Bing-Joe HwangEmail author


Cu2O/CuO/CuS electrocatalyst was prepared by thermal oxidation of cleaned copper mesh in the air into Cu2O/CuO and CuS was deposited on oxide surface using facile successive ionic layer adsorption and reaction method. The successive fabrication of the electrocatalyst was confirmed using XRD, SEM, Raman and XPS. The catalytic enhancement is believed to be associated with the reduction of copper sulfide. Together with copper oxides, they offer favorable adsorption sites for electrochemical CO2 reduction. The synthesized catalyst offered significantly enhanced activity and selectivity performance for CO2 reduction at lower overpotential. Remarkably, the faradaic efficiency for formate generation reaches 84% at the potential of − 0.7 V versus RHE. It has also provided a high partial current density of − 20 mA cm− 2.

Graphical Abstract


CuS Cu2O/CuO/CuS Electrocatalyst Electrochemical CO2 reduction SILAR method 



Financial support was provided by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) (105-3113-E-011-001-, 104-2911-I-011-505-MY2, 103-2923-E-011-004-MY3), the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) (101-EC-17-A-08-S1-183) the Top University Projects of Ministry of Education (MOE) (100H451401), and Taiwan’s Deep Decarbonization Pathways toward a Sustainable Society Project (106-0210-02-11-03). Research facilities were provided by the National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center (NSRRC) and the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST).

Author Contributions

All authors are exhaustively discussed the results and involved to the final manuscript of this research. Amaha woldu Kahsay: Developed the methodology, performed experiments, investigated the process, processed the experimental data, characterized and analyzed the results, and draft the manuscript. Kassa Belay Ibrahim: Helped to perform XRD measurements and coordinate in research activities. Meng-Che Tsai: Contributed to the analysis of the results and coordinate in the research activities. Mulatu Kassie Birhanu: Worked out in technical activities such as sample preparation and activity measurements. Soressa Abera Chala: Contributed to the analysis of the results, discussion and helped graphic preparations. Wei-Nien Su: Helped in discussing the results, designed the figures, worked on the draft and revision of this manuscript, and supervised this work. Bing-Joe Hwang: Devised and conceived the original ideas of this research, provide study materials, instruments, reagents and other tools for analysis, analyzed and discussed the results, critical revision and supervised this work.

Supplementary material

10562_2019_2657_MOESM1_ESM.docx (288 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 287 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nano-Electrochemistry Laboratory, Department of Chemical EngineeringNational Taiwan University of Science and TechnologyTaipeiTaiwan, Republic of China
  2. 2.Nano-Electrochemistry Laboratory, Graduate Institute of Applied Science and TechnologyNational Taiwan University of Science and TechnologyTaipeiTaiwan, Republic of China
  3. 3.National Synchrotron Radiation Research CenterHsin-chuTaiwan, Republic of China

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