Towards a better Sn: efficient electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 to formate by Sn/SnS2 derived from SnS2 nanosheets

Fengwang Li, Lu Chen, Mianqi Xue, Timothy Williams, Ying Zhang, Douglas Macfarlane, Jie Zhang

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123 Citations (Scopus)


Electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 into liquid fuels using electricity from renewable sources has been attracting considerable interest because of the present energy and environmental crisis. However, current electrocatalysts for this reaction generally suffer from either high cost for noble metal based catalysts or low energetic efficiency and poor product selectivity for other transition metal or carbon based materials. In this paper, we report a catalyst based on two–dimensional SnS2 nanosheets supported on reduced graphene oxide (SnS2/rGO) synthesized by a “one–pot” hydrothermal reaction for electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 into formate with high activity, selectivity and durability. The catalyst is capable of producing formate at an overpotential as low as 0.23 V and reaches a maximum faradaic efficiency of 84.5% and the current density of 13.9 mA cm–2 at an overpotential of 0.68 V in aqueous bicarbonate medium. Microscopic, spectroscopic and electrochemical characterizations reveal that the electrocatalytic activity towards CO2 reduction arises from the presence of reduced metallic tin formed from SnS2 under cathodic electrolysis conditions; the enhanced performance is attributed to the residual SnS2. This sulfide–derived metal catalyst with enhanced performance may open a perspective on a new promising class of materials for electrocatalytic reduction of CO2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-277
Number of pages8
JournalNano Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • CO2 reduction
  • Electrocatalysis
  • Formate
  • SnS2 nanosheets
  • Two–dimensional materials

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