Alkali alcoholates, also called alkali alkoxides, are produced from alkali metal salt solutions and alcohol using a three-compartment electrolytic cell. The electrolytic cell includes an anolyte compartment configured with an anode, a buffer compartment, and a catholyte compartment configured with a cathode. First and second separators are positioned between the anolyte compartment and the catholyte compartment to define a buffer compartment. The first and second separators are permeable to alkali ions. They may be fabricated of the same or different materials including, but not limited to, an alkali ion conducting solid electrolyte configured to selectively transport alkali ions, a porous ceramic, or a porous polymer separator material. The catholyte solution may include an alkali alcoholate and alcohol. The anolyte solution may include at least one alkali salt. The buffer compartment solution may include a soluble alkali salt and an alkali alcoholate in alcohol.
U.S. GOVERNMENT INTEREST
 This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-FG36-06GO6036 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.