2023 Wu Emerging Electrocatalysts in Urea Production

Electrochemical urea production from low-valued CO and N2 containing feedstocks for sure offers great potential to be an alternative and complement to the traditional Haber-Meiser process. Unlike the individual reduction of CO and N2 containing feedstocks, their coupled reduction is a more complex process with multiple electrons and intermediates involved, while the reactivity can be determined by many factors, including: electrocatalysts, electrolytes, reactants, reaction mechanisms, reactors and many others. Until now, some efforts have been made in this area, but it is still like a black box to be under-explored, as the FE and urea production rate remain under a low level, far away from its practical application. Thus, in this review, we systematically summarize the recent reports of electrochemical urea formation from CO and NO2 /NO3 / NO / N2 (Table 1), providing some illustrations for the reaction pathways. Considering that electrocatalysts are critical to improve the reaction performance, especially for the new- emerging urea production, detailed experimental results and DFT calculations are discussed to provide feasible methodology for catalyst design as well as unveiling the activity origin.

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