CORDIS - EU research results

Catholyte-free flow cell enables high efficiency electroreduction of CO2 to C2 fuels

Project description

Industrial scale 'photosynthesis' of fuels, a natural way to protect the environment

One great way to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere is to capture it and convert it into other carbon-based chemicals and fuels of high value. CO2 electroreduction, reducing CO2 with electricity, is one of the most promising technologies, particularly when that electricity is produced from renewable energy sources. The EU-funded CF-CO2R project is attacking the challenges presented by current electrocatalysts through a combined campaign of experiments and modelling. Highly efficient electrocatalysts will enable CO2 electroreduction to meet the requirements of industrial implementation with benefits for both the environment and the competitive position of the EU.


In the light of rising levels of atmospheric CO2 and associated climate change, the development of advanced techniques for CO2 conversion is of foremost importance. Particularly, many efforts have been made recently to synthesize efficient electrocatalysts for CO2 reduction to carbon fuels using renewable electricity. Nevertheless, to meet the requirement of industrial implementation, even the best performance of these recently developed electrocatalysts must be increased by one order of magnitude. Currently, energy efficiency of CO2 electroreduction is limited by energy-loss in catholyte and transport of CO2 to the cathode surface. The importance of transport limitations will grow as currents approach the higher levels required for industry. The vision for this work is the design of an efficient catholyte-free electrode structure and reactor, in combination with state-of-the-art photovoltaic, that can provide for the industry-ready artificial photosynthesis of carbon fuels. To achieve this goal, we will be dedicated to develop a membrane electrode assembly cell with the design of a catholyte-free flow-through-porous electrode which will allow the incorporation of newly types of nanostructured electrocatalysts and efficient CO2 transfer and conversion into specific carbon fuels such as ethylene or ethanol. Particularly, the proposed research aims include: (i) Development of efficient electrocatalysts that allow the formation of ideal products (ethylene/ethanol); (ii) Enhancement of electrocatalytic activity and stability via system engineering; (iii) Understanding the fundamentals of CO2 electroreduction and cell mechanics to accelerate the development of catholyte-free flow-through-porous electrode for the design of a scalable, high-performance CO2 electroconversion cell through both experiments and theoretical modeling; (iv) Achieving the scalable solar fuels production with CO2 reduction and photovoltaic in tandem.


Net EU contribution
€ 191 149,44
1015 Lausanne

See on map

Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Région lémanique Vaud
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 191 149,44