(701a) Tailoring Electrocatalytic Surfaces for Selective Alcohol Functionalization (Invited)

Manthiram, K., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Alcohol functionality is ubiquitous in chemicals with large energy footprint, ranging from bio-based feedstocks such as hydroxymethylfurfural to chemical intermediates derived from natural gas, such as methanol. Functionalization of alcohols is necessary for producing higher value aldehydes, acids, ethers, esters, and olefins. We are developing a synthetic toolkit which allows for selectively functionalizing alcohols at tailored electrode surfaces under ambient conditions, with high currents at low overpotentials. We have achieved molecular-level understanding of how to control adsorbate populations via in situ vibrational spectroscopy, leading to improved rates of alcohol functionalization. Our work provides insights into choice of complementary electrolytes and electrodes which lead to selective alcohol functionalization.