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Selective Electrochemical Reduction of CO2 to High Value Chemicals

Project description

Circular chemicals production via CO2 and renewable electricity

Electrochemical reduction of CO2 is a process that can convert waste CO2 into chemicals for the chemical industry or into fuels. It is generating growing interest as a way to simultaneously address climate change and energy security. However, significant technological improvements are required to enable the realisation of practical and cost-effective CO2 electrolysis systems. The EU-funded SELECTCO2 project is on a mission to do just that, relying on modelling from the quantum level up to the complete device to gain critical insight into the role of microscopic changes in macroscopic outputs. The team is developing novel catalysts, gas diffusion layers and membranes targeting CO, ethanol and ethylene production. Enhanced selectivity, efficiency and durability should create important market opportunities.


This proposal will develop enhanced electrolysis devices enabling CO2 to be converted into high value chemicals. Specifically this project will improve selectivity, efficiency and durability of electrochemical CO2 conversion into either carbon monoxide, ethanol or ethylene. The immediate focus will be on the highly economically attractive chemicals industry, with the long term goal of using this as a stepping stone towards the fuels industry.

New catalysts, gas diffusion layers, and membranes will all be developed to improve performance in commercially scalable type devices. Single site catalyst will be used to create high selectivity towards carbon monoxide production, whereas a dual catalyst approach will be used to produce ethanol. Variations in morphology and surface structuring will be the key to eliminating side reaction in ethylene production

The greatest novelty of this project will be to use modifications in the reaction environment to effect reaction selectivity. The hydrophobicity and pore size will be varied in the gas diffusion layer and anion exchange membranes and ionomers will be developed to improve performance. The entire device will be comprehensively modeled from the quantum regime all the way to the complete device to relate macroscopic changes with catalytic improvements. Developments in both improved catalysts as well as optimization of reaction environment will allow for high CO2 conversion selectivity, (CO 90%, ethanol 80%, ethylene 90%) at high energy efficiencies (> 40%) and at high rates (> 200 mA/cm2).

A life cycle analysis will focus on electrical power and CO2 inputs as well as the specific products to discover the most effective market opportunities for this technology moving forward. In addition social acceptance issues will be investigated to ensure this technology is developed in a manner that optimizes this aspect as well.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 1 168 000,00
Anker engelunds vej 101
2800 Kongens lyngby

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Danmark Hovedstaden Københavns omegn
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 146 250,00

Participants (8)