Electrocatalytic processing of biomass raw materials powered by renewable electricity offers a more environmentally friendly way of reducing the global carbon footprint associated with the production of chemicals with added value. In this regard, a key strategy is the electrocatalytic hydrogenation reaction (ECH), which is typically paired with the anodic oxygen evolution reaction (OER) with sluggish kinetics and produces low value O2. Here we have an oxide-derived Ag (OD-Ag) electrode with high activity and up to 98.2% selectivity for the ECH from 5- (hydroxymethyl) furfural (HMF) to 2,5-bis (hydroxymethyl) furan ( BHMF). and such efficient conversion has been achieved in a three-electrode flow cell. The excellent BHMF selectivity was maintained over a wide potential range with long-term operational stability. We then viewed the oxidation of HMF to 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) and hydrogen (to water) as more efficient and productive alternatives to OER. For HMF-to-BHMF paired with 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl (TEMPO) -mediated HMF-to-FDCA conversion, transferring the electrolysis from the H-cell to the flow cell, resulting in a corresponds to a more than fourfold increase in energy efficiency in operation at 10 mA. A combined Faraday efficiency of 163% was obtained for BHMF and FDCA. Alternatively, the anodic hydrogen oxidation reaction on platinum further reduced the cell voltage at 10 mA to only ~ 0.85 V. These paired processes show the potential for integrating renewable electricity and carbon for environmentally friendly and economically viable distributed chemical production.

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