Paired Electrolysis in the Simultaneous Production of Synthetic Intermediates and Substrates

Mark J. Llorente, Bichlien H. Nguyen, Clifford P. Kubiak, Kevin D. Moeller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


In electrochemical processes, an oxidation half-reaction is always paired with a reduction half-reaction. Although systems for reactions such as the reduction of CO2 can be coupled to water oxidation to produce O2 at the anode, large-scale O2 production is of limited value. One may replace a low-value half-reaction with a compatible half-reaction that can produce a valuable chemical compound and operate at a lower potential. In doing so, both the anodic and cathodic half-reactions yield desirable products with a decreased energy demand. Here we demonstrate a paired electrolysis in the case of the oxidative condensation of syringaldehyde and o-phenylenediamine to give 2-(3,5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxyphenyl)benzimidazole coupled with the reduction of CO2 to CO mediated by molecular electrocatalysts. We also present general principles for evaluating current-voltage characteristics and power demands in paired electrolyzers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15110-15113
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number46
StatePublished - Nov 23 2016


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