In order to develop an efficient and greener method for organic chemical hydride production in the energy carrier system, the electrocatalytic hydrogenation of toluene to methylcyclohexane was carried out using a proton exchange membrane (PEM) reactor, which generally applied a polymer electrolyte fuel cell and industrial electrolysis technologies. The electrochemical conversion proceeded in high current efficiencies (>90%) under sufficiently mild conditions with various metal-supported catalysts such as Pt/C, Rh/C, Ru/C, and PtRu/C. For example, methylcyclohexane was obtained in 94% current efficiency by the electrochemical hydrogenation of toluene with PtRu/C. Although the current efficiency of the hydrogenation with Pt/C, Rh/C, and Ru/C apparently decreased under high current density conditions due to the side reaction (hydrogen evolution), the hydrogenation with PtRu/C catalysts proceeded in excellent efficiencies even under high current density conditions.
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