Hydrogenation of oxalic acid using light-assisted water electrolysis for the production of an alcoholic compound

Sho Kitano, Miho Yamauchi, Shinichi Hata, Ryota Watanabe, Masaaki Sadakiyo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We demonstrate the production of glycolic acid, an industrially important alcoholic compound, via the electrochemical reduction of oxalic acid, which is procurable from biomass, and electro-oxidation of water with the help of renewable light energy for the first time. In principle, this new synthesis system is achievable while minimizing the consumption of fossil resources. We built a precious-metal free electrosynthesis system by employing a TiO2 cathode for oxalic acid reduction and a WO3 photoanode for water oxidation. The alcohol production proceeds during the application of electric power above 2.1 V in the dark. Notably, UV-visible light irradiation of the WO3 photoanode enables glycolic acid electrosynthesis above 0.5 V, which is lower (by 0.6 V) than the theoretical bias, i.e., 1.1 V. Glycolic acid electrosynthesis with an 80% high Faradaic efficiency was achieved on applying a bias of 1.5 V under UV-visible irradiation (λ > 300 nm).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3700-3706
    Number of pages7
    JournalGreen Chemistry
    Volume18
    Issue number13
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Environmental Chemistry
    • Pollution

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