Replacing conventional fossil resources with renewable raw materials for chemical production and energy generation is crucial for achieving the carbon-neutral goal and alleviating the emerging energy crisis. Biomass has been considered as one of the most promising candidates for this purpose owing to its great natural abundance and inherent ability to fix CO2 in the form of multi-carbon compounds. Particularly, biomass conversion through an electrochemical route is intriguing because of its operability near ambient conditions, flexible scalability (suitable for distributed manufacturing and even domestic use) and green generation of oxidative or reductive equivalents instead of wasteful and possibly explosive or flammable reagents. Herein, recent progress in electrochemical transformation of biomass, including hydrogenation and amination, is reviewed with the emphasis on catalysts and strategies for enhancing catalytic efficiency. The advances in mechanistic understanding using in-situ spectroscopy are also briefly discussed. Finally, recommendations for the directions for future development are also provided.
- biomass utilization
- electrochemical hydrogenation
- in-situ spectroscopy
- reductive amination