Electrochemical converting ethanol to hydrogen and acetic acid for large scale green hydrogen production

Yufeng Zhang, Wei Zhu*, Jinjie Fang, Zhiyuan Xu, Yanrong Xue, Jiajing Pei, Rui Sui, Xingdong Wang, Xuejiang Zhang, Zhongbin Zhuang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electrochemical coupling hydrogen evolution with biomass reforming reaction (named electrochemical hydrogen and chemical cogeneration (EHCC)), which realizes green hydrogen production and chemical upgrading simultaneously, is a promising method to build a carbon-neutral society. Herein, we analyze the EHCC process by considering the market assessment. The ethanol to acetic acid and hydrogen approach is the most feasible for large-scale hydrogen production. We develop AuCu nanocatalysts, which can selectively oxidize ethanol to acetic acid (> 97%) with high long-term activity. The isotopic and in-situ infrared experiments reveal that the promoted water dissociation step by alloying contributes to the enhanced activity of the partial oxidation reaction path. A flow-cell electrolyzer equipped with the AuCu anodic catalyst achieves the steady production of hydrogen and acetic acid simultaneously in both high selectivity (> 90%), demonstrating the potential scalable application for green hydrogen production with low energy consumption and high profitability.[Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1542-1551
Number of pages10
JournalNano Research
Issue number3
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21971008 and 22279004), Beijing Natural Science Foundation (No. Z210016), and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. buctrc201916).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Tsinghua University Press.


  • electrochemical-coupled hydrogen production
  • gold alloy catalyst
  • interfacial water activation
  • market assessment
  • selective ethanol electrooxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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