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Standards and Protocols for Data Acquisition and Reporting for Studies of the Electrochemical Reduction of Carbon Dioxide

  • Author(s): Clark, EL;
  • Resasco, J;
  • Landers, A;
  • Lin, J;
  • Chung, LT;
  • Walton, A;
  • Hahn, C;
  • Jaramillo, TF;
  • Bell, AT
  • et al.

Objective evaluation of the performance of electrocatalysts for CO2 reduction has been complicated by a lack of standardized methods for measuring and reporting activity data. In this perspective, we advocate that standardizing these practices can aid in advancing research efforts toward the development of efficient and selective CO2 reduction electrocatalysts. Using information taken from experimental studies, we identify variables that influence the measured activity of CO2 reduction electrocatalysts and propose procedures to account for these variables in order to improve the accuracy and reproducibility of reported data. We recommend that catalysts be measured under conditions which do not introduce artifacts from impurities, from either the electrolyte or counter electrode, and advocate the acquisition of data measured in the absence of mass transport effects. Furthermore, measured rates of electrochemical reactions should be normalized to both the geometric electrode area as well as the electrochemically active surface area to facilitate the comparison of reported catalysts with those previously known. We demonstrate that, when these factors are accounted for, the CO2 reduction activities of Ag and Cu measured in different laboratories exhibit little difference. Adoption of the recommendations presented in this perspective would greatly facilitate the identification of superior catalysts for CO2 reduction arising solely from changes in their composition and pretreatment.

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