The electrochemical reduction of CO2 into useful fuels and chemical feedstocks offers great promise for conversion to a carbon-neutral economy. However, challenges in product selectivity continue to limit the practical application of electrocatalytic systems. In this Perspective, we outline the thermodynamic and kinetic factors for the design of improved catalysts for CO2 fixation and carbon–carbon bond formation, and draw parallels between synthetic systems and natural enzymes that perform analogous transformations. By identifying the primary features that underpin the highly efficient CO2 conversion reactions seen in nature, synthetic catalysts can be constructed to take advantage of similar chemical principles. Given the demonstrated prior success of bio-inspired molecular design, increased and dynamic interactions between the chemical, biological and materials science fields will advance catalyst development in a synergistic fashion.
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H.S.S. acknowledges the US Department of Energy, award DE-SC0018020, for supporting research that informed this perspective. J.Y.Y. acknowledges the US Department of Energy, award DE-SC0020275, and the National Science Foundation, award CHE-2102589, for supporting research that informed this Perspective.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review information Nature Catalysis thanks the anonymous reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
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Shafaat, H.S., Yang, J.Y. Uniting biological and chemical strategies for selective CO2 reduction. Nat Catal 4, 928–933 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41929-021-00683-1
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