Effects of electrolyte pH and composition on the ethanol electro-oxidation reaction

Stanley C S Lai, Steven E F Kleijn, Fatma T Z Öztürk, Vivienne C. Van Rees Vellinga, Jesper Koning, Paramaconi Rodriguez, Marc T M Koper, Paramaconi Rodriguez

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187 Citations (Scopus)


The electrochemical oxidation of ethanol has been studied on platinum and gold electrodes by a combination of electrochemical and spectroscopic techniques in electrolytes of varying pH and composition, the latter primarily determined by the buffering anions. It was found that the activity of reaction increases significantly when the pH of the electrolyte is higher than 10. Furthermore, the results indicate that the selectivity of the reaction depends strongly on the nature of the electrolyte, and, to a smaller extent, on the electrolyte pH. In particular, carbon-carbon bond breaking, which is necessary to achieve full oxidation, could only be observed on platinum in the absence of strongly adsorbing anions. Based on these findings, a tentative general mechanism is suggested and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-104
Number of pages13
JournalCatalysis Today
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2010


  • Anion adsorption
  • Electrocatalysis
  • Ethanol oxidation
  • Infrared spectroscopy
  • pH dependence
  • Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


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