Project: Electrode development and system design improvements for electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction
The electrochemical reduction of CO2 has become a promising technology to minimize CO2 emissions through its conversion into valuable compounds (CO, H2, CxHy), in which each product may be achieved by controlling the reaction conditions. The main parameters which govern CO2 reduction may be external (temperature, pressure, time), electrical (potential, current), solution composition (active species, electrolyte, solvent) and the nature of the electrode (material, surface conditions). The choose of the best parameters is part of the reactor design, which might affect directly the energetic efficiency, reaction rate and therefore the selectivity to desired compounds. The best reactor to electrochemically reduce CO2 has to provide the highest efficiency and selectivity as possible. Therefore, the reactor design must consider some important topics:
- Minimization of the resistance on electrochemical cells (increase current density/rate);
- Suppression of H2 production (competes with CO2 reduction);
- Requires the lowest over-potential as possible (reduce power costs);
- Facilitates the mass transport on electrode surface (depends on the potential and nature of catalyst).
Based on this, the aim of this project is to evaluate the improvements which can be made on the reactor design for the electrochemical reduction of CO2 in order to obtain better efficiency and selectivity to desired products.