Selective electrochemical reduction of CO2 on compositionally variant bimetallic Cu–Zn electrocatalysts derived from scrap brass alloys

Nageh K. Allam, The American University in Cairo (AUC)
Ahmed Mohsen Ismail, The American University in Cairo (AUC)
Ghada E. Khedr
Manar M. Taha


The electrocatalytic reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2RR) into value-added fuels is a promising initiative to overcome the adverse effects of CO2 on climate change. Most electrocatalysts studied, however, overlook the harmful mining practices used to extract these catalysts in pursuit of achieving high-performance. Repurposing scrap metals to use as alternative electrocatalysts would thus hold high privilege even at the compromise of high performance. In this work, we demonstrated the repurposing of scrap brass alloys with different Zn content for the conversion of CO2 into carbon monoxide and formate. The scrap alloys were activated towards CO2RR via simple annealing in air and made more selective towards CO production through galvanic replacement with Ag. Upon galvanic replacement with Ag, the scrap brass-based electrocatalysts showed enhanced current density for CO production with better selectivity towards the formation of CO. The density functional theory (DFT) calculations were used to elucidate the potential mechanism and selectivity of the scrap brass catalysts towards CO2RR. The d-band center in the different brass samples with different Zn content was elucidated.