A process and related electrode composition are disclosed for the electrocatalytic hydrogenation and/or hydrodeoxygenation of organic substrates such as biomass-derived bio-oil components by the production of hydrogen atoms on a catalyst surface followed by the reaction of the hydrogen atoms with the organic reactants. Biomass fast pyrolysis-derived bio-oil is a liquid mixture containing hundreds of organic compounds with chemical functionalities that are corrosive to container materials and are prone to polymerization. A high surface area skeletal metal catalyst material such as Raney Nickel can be used as the cathode. Electrocatalytic hydrogenation and/or hydrodeoxygenation convert the organic substrates under mild conditions to reduce coke formation and catalyst deactivation. The process converts oxygen-containing functionalities and unsaturated bonds into chemically reduced forms with an increased hydrogen content. The process is operated at mild conditions, which enables it to be a good means for stabilizing bio-oil to a form that can be stored and transported using metal containers and pipes.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
 This invention was made with government support under DE-FG36-04GO14216 awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.