Sci Rep. 2022 Nov 19;12(1):19968. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-23777-7.
Artificial photosynthesis, an umbrella term, is a chemical process that biomimetics natural photosynthesis. In natural photosynthesis, electrons from the water-oxidation reaction are used for carbon dioxide reduction. Herein, we report the reducion of aldehydes and ketones to corresponding alcohols in a simple undivided cell. This reaction utilized inexpensive nickel foam electrodes (1 cm2) and LiClO4 (0.05 M) as a commercially accessible electrolyte in an aqueous medium. Under electrochemical conditions, a series of alcohols (21 examples) produces high selectivity in good yields (up to 100%). Usage the current method, 10 mmol (1060 mg) of benzaldehyde is also successfully reduced to benzyl alcohol (757 mg, 70% isolated yield) without any by‑products. This route to alcohols matched several green chemistry principles: (a) atom economy owing to the use of H2O as the solvent and the source of hydrogen, (b) elimination of the homogeneous metal catalyst, (c) use of smooth reaction conditions, (d) waste inhibition due to low volumetric of by-products, and (e) application of safe EtOH co-solvent. Moreover, the ability of the system to operate with alkyne and alkene compounds enhanced the practical efficiency of this process.