Copper hollow fibers to convert CO2 into CO

Anne Sustronk (PhD Candidate), Nieck Benes (promotor), Guido Mul (promotor) 

Duration: 2017-2022

Funding: This project is co-funded with subsidy from the Topsector Energy by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and is performed in collaboration with Arcelor Mittal, Dow Chemical, ISPT, Nouryon, OCI Nitrogen, ECN p/o TNO and Yara.

As the demand for renewable energy is falling behind its supply, seasonal excesses in renewable energy exist. One way to utilize and store this excess energy is converting it into chemical energy. In this context, we focus on the electrochemical conversion of CO2 into CO. With CO being a chemical that is used in the steel and chemical industries, the conversion of CO2 into CO also contributes to closing the carbon cycle and to mitigate climate change.

Copper, tubular electrodes, electrochemical CO2 conversion, carbon monoxide

Technological challenges
Common technology for electrochemical CO2 conversion involves the use of flat, diffusive based electrodes. However, this diffusive reactant supply is limiting the CO2 conversion rate. In order to improve the CO2 conversion rate, we are developing tubular porous electrodes that allow for a convective CO2 supply and conversion of CO2 into CO.

Research goals

  • Preparation and optimization of the copper hollow fibers in terms of appearance
  • Model description of mass transfer at the vicinity of the fiber
  • Evaluation and explanation of the fiber’s behavior under different process conditions
  • Comparison of flat and tubular geometry


Picture from: 
Kas, R., et al., Three-dimensional porous hollow fibre copper electrodes for efficient and high-rate electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction. 2016. 7: p. 10748, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10748 (2016)