PhD project

Electrochemical valorization of CO2 and bio-oil on copper-based gas diffusion electrodes

Liniker Fabricio de Sousa (PhD Candidate), Guido Mul (promotor), Nieck Benes (promotor)

Duration: 2017 – 2021

Funding: RVO ISPT / TKI BioBased Economy

The energy transition from fossil fuels towards renewables has advanced extraordinarily in the past years, particularly in the electrification system. In this process, electrochemistry can be used as a source of valorizing raw components such as CO2, water and bio-based materials converting them into fuels and chemicals to be reused within industries.

Key words
Electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide, gas diffusion electrode, bio-oil upgrading, electroreduction of aldehydes, copper catalysts

Technological challenges
Although huge progress has been made on fuel cell field involving electrocatalysts and gas diffusion electrodes, other electrochemical applications are still on early stages, facing challenges such as poor catalyst stability and difficult preparation methods, making it not industrially viable.

Research goals
In the present research, new preparation methods for copper-based GDEs to be applied on both CO2 and aldehydes electroreduction are investigated. Specific targets are effects of thermal treatment and loading of copper on Cu-GDEs activity and stability; effects of roughness on preferential adsorption of bio-oil based molecules and effects of organic co-catalysts on non-aqueous electrolytes for CO2 reduction.