Molecular Electrocatalysts for Alcohol Oxidation: Insights and Challenges for Catalyst Design

Andrew W. Cook, Kate M. Waldie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The implementation of a sustainable energy economy based on renewable but intermittent energy sources necessitates the efficient electrogeneration of chemical fuels and the efficient utilization of chemical fuels in a fuel cell. Alcohols, in particular methanol, are attractive targets for the fuel in such a scheme, but the selective, complete oxidation of methanol to carbon dioxide is a challenging multielectron, multiproton process that still requires the development of efficient and selective catalysts. Here, we discuss three case studies that represent the current state of the research field for molecular electrocatalysts capable of alcohol oxidation. These case studies illuminate the key advances critical to effective catalysis and also help to clarify the main challenges with methanol as a substrate. The properties and reactivity of these systems provide a basis for catalyst design principles and future studies in this field, toward the design of electrochemical systems capable of methanol oxidation to carbon dioxide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-46
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 27 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


  • alcohols
  • catalyst design
  • electrocatalysis
  • fuel cells
  • molecular complexes
  • oxidation
  • transition metal hydride


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