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

Objective

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.
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Coordinator

ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FEDERALE DE LAUSANNE

Address

Batiment Ce 3316 Station 1
1015 Lausanne

Switzerland

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 191 149,44

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 838686

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    15 June 2019

  • End date

    14 June 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 191 149,44

  • EU contribution

    € 191 149,44

Coordinated by:

ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FEDERALE DE LAUSANNE

Switzerland