(759a) Hydrogenation of Carbonyl Compounds over Pd in Aqueous Phase Under Charged Conditions: Role of Organic Molecular Structure

Gutiérrez, O., Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Lercher, J. A., Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Sanyal, U., Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Stoerzinger, K. A., Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Camaioni, D. M., Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Meyer, L. C., Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Electrocatalytic hydrogenation (ECH) is a promising approach for energy conversion utilizing renewable electricity to transform biogenic carbon sources to more useful feedstocks. Carbonyl groups are one of the most abundant and highly reactive functionalities of bio-derived molecules. Recent studies of benzaldehyde ECH showed a higher activity of C-supported Pd compared to other metals, i.e., Pt, Rh, Ni. In the present study we explore this catalytic chemistry further, comparing the reduction of aromatic and aliphatic carbonyl compounds on Pd/C with the aim to understand the influence of molecular structure on the reaction pathways and selectivity in ECH. The experiments were conducted over the potential range of -0.1 VRHE to -0.3 VRHE at low temperatures and atmospheric pressure. The aromatic carbonyl compounds benzaldehyde, acetophenone, and furfural showed significant reactivity towards hydrogenation, whereas the aliphatic carbonyl compounds butyraldehyde and cyclohexanone exhibited small or negligible reduction rates. Under these conditions, the reactive carbonyls all reduced to alcohols without secondary products. The Figure demonstrates the result of the cathodic potential on the reduction of carbonyls. The H2 evolution reaction (HER) was the prevalent side reaction during ECH and increased exponentially with negative potential. Benzaldehyde reduction rates were highest and increase linearly, followed by acetophenone reduction rates, which plateaued at ‑0.2 VRHE. Furfural reduction rates increased exponentially with cathodic potential albeit with lower values than benzaldehyde and acetophenone. Rotating disk electrode (RDE) and extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) experiments showed that the presence of organic compounds affects charge transfer processes to an extent that is a function of the molecular structure. These results indicate a competitive adsorption of organic compounds and hydrogen on Pd and highlight the dependence of hydrogenation rates, HER rates and charge transfer on the molecular structure, which determines the adsorption strength of the organic molecules. TCH rates are plotted against their OCV values in the Figure, showing lower rates than ECH. This allows to conclude that an electrochemical mechanism is dominating the reaction under cathodic bias. The data agrees well with a kinetic model, where the first hydrogen addition (through a proton coupled electron transfer) is the rate determining step. This work helps to understand the influence of molecular structure on the rates of electrocatalytic hydrogenation of organic compounds and simultaneous H2 evolution. Our studies will enable predictive models - based on common principles in catalysis - to be applied to other metals and organic compounds.