Date of Graduation


Document Type

Problem/Project Report

Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

Committee Chair

Jianli (John) Hu

Committee Member

Charter Stinespring

Committee Member

Debangsu Bhattacharyya


Massive usage of fossil fuel has being causing considerable emission of CO2, which increases the temperature of the planet and greatly threaten human living environment, such as soil degradation, lower agricultural productivity, desertification, less biodiversity, fresh-water reduction, ocean acidification, ozone sphere destruction, etc. A number of technologies are being developed to reduce the CO2 amount, however, all existing technologies except utilizing CO2 as a feedstock, are hardly to essentially close the anthropogenic carbon loop. Currently, considering the economy and operability, electroreduction of CO2 seems to be the most promising strategy to convert CO2 to high value chemicals.

During the process of CO2 electroreduction, Cu-based catalysts become the most popular because they meet the requirements of activating CO2 and intermediates, suppression of hydrogen formation, and electron transportation. Herein, the factors that affect the Cu-based catalysts’ performance, including morphology, particle sizes, presence of atomic-scale defects, surface roughness, residual oxygen atoms, and so on, have been surveyed and discussed. In addition, the most probable reaction pathways to synthesize the desirable C2 products under different situation have been identified, which follow *CO + *CO → *COCO, *CO + *COH → C2, *CO + *CHO → C2 and *COH → *CH2 → C2. This report will benefit the design and optimization of Cu-based catalysts for the conversion of CO2 to high value chemicals with high efficiency and selectivity.