Electrocatalytic Reduction of CO2 by Group 6 M(CO)6 Species without “Non-Innocent” Ligands

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To understand the electrocatalytic CO2 reduction of metal carbonyl complexes without “non-innocent” ligands, the electrochemical responses of group 6 M(CO)6 (M = Cr, Mo, or W) and group 7 M2(CO)10 (M = Mn or Re) complexes were examined under Ar and CO2 at a glassy carbon electrode. All of the complexes showed changes in their cyclic voltammograms under CO2. The group 6 hexacarbonyl species show a significant increase in current under CO2 during metal-based reduction, corresponding to catalytic reduction of CO2. Bulk electrolysis experiments with Mo(CO)6showed that CO was the primary product. The group 7 dimers showed very little change during metal-based reduction, but return oxidation responses disappeared, indicative of a chemical reaction after exposure to CO2 without catalysis. Addition of H2O, a proton source, to the solutions under CO2 decreased the catalytic current of the group 6 carbonyls and had no effect on the responses of the group 7 carbonyls. The group 6 M(CO)6 species are notable in that that they are effective catalysts without the need for an added “non-innocent” ligand such as 2,2′-bipyridine.