Authors: Gonzalez-del Moral, O; Call, A; Franco, F; Moya, A; Nieto-Rodriguez, JA; Frias, M; Fierro, JLG; Costas, M; Lloret-Fillol, J; Aleman, J; Mas-Balleste, R

Chem.-Eur. J.. vol: 24. page: 0947-6539.
Date: mar-02. 2018.
Doi: 10.1002/chem.201705655.

Commercial carbon fibers can be used as electrodes with high conductive surfaces in reduced devices. Oxidative treatment of such electrodes results in a chemically robust material with high catalytic activity for electrochemical proton reduction, enabling the measurement of quantitative faradaic yields (>95%) and high current densities. Combination of experiments and DFT calculations reveals that the presence of carboxylic groups triggers such electrocatalytic activity in a bioinspired manner. Analogously to the known Hantzsch esters, the oxidized carbon fiber material is able to transfer hydrides, which can react with protons, generating H-2, or with organic substrates resulting in their hydrogenation. A plausible mechanism is proposed based on DFT calculations on model systems..