Direct electrochemical synthesis of oxygenates from ethane using phosphate-based electrolysis cells
Ethane was converted directly to acetaldehyde and ethanol by partial oxidation at 220 degrees C and ambient pressure using an electrolysis cell with a proton-conducting electrolyte, CsH2PO4/SiP2O7, and Pt/C electrodes. The ethane conversion and the selectivity to the products increased with the voltage applied to the cell. It was found that O species generated by water electrolysis functioned as a favorable oxidant for partial oxidation of ethane on the Pt/C anode at intermediate temperatures. The production rates of acetaldehyde and ethanol recorded in this study were significantly higher than those in preceding reports.