UNiversity of Antwerp
Applied Electrochemistry & Catalysis
The core research goal within ELCAT lies in the development of state-of-the art electrochemical reactors and catalysts, with a view towards large-scale industrial development in the field of industrial electrification, in a green and sustainable way.
WHAT WE DO
Moving towards a decarbonized economy, the ambition to decouple industrial processes from fossil-fuel-derived energy sources will inevitably pass through the exploitation of renewable energy sources such as wind, water and sun. Chemical manufacturing is nowadays based on thermochemical processes which are highly energy-demanding, requiring large amounts of heat.
Electrochemistry allows for a manifold of reactions to proceed on a laboratory or industrial scale under ambient conditions. At the same time, it benefits from a relatively high energy efficiency and selectivity, which can be tuned towards the desired product by adapting the operating potential and/or the electrocatalyst. The major drawback of electrochemical activation is the large overpotential which is required for many of these processes. In order to reduce those large overpotentials, we thus need a well suited electrocatalyst.
In the domain of electrochemical reactor engineering ELCAT focuses on development and optimisation of electrochemical reactors. Investigations in this research domain require a combined approach of know-how on (1) reactor design, (2) electrochemical analysis techniques, (3) electrocatalysis and (4) electrochemical synthesis.
OUR MOST RECENT ACTIVITIES
One of the greatest global challenges is the minimization of greenhouse gas emissions. Finding a more eco-friendly alternative to the energy-intensive Haber-Bosch process is one way of tackling this problem.
The initiative for this project is rooted in the climate change problem today’s society faces.
One of the greatest challenges faced by our current generation is lowering the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The electrochemical CO2 reduction (ECR) provides a solution to this problem by utilizing CO2 in combination with renewable energy and convert it to valuable chemicals (here formic acid).
Increasing droughts, storms and floods are notable examples of climate change that many countries face today. To address this imminent threat various agreements by the UN have been developed to deal with the increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. CO2, one of the greenhouse gases, contributes significantly to the overall climate problem.
Analytical assistance and consulting
Measuring chemical products is the cornerstone of solving production issues. With our experience in tailor made analyses we can help you gain more insight in to your (bio)-chemical processes. Our high end industry-standard tools such as ICP-MS, GC(-MS) and HPLC have already proven their efficacy in previous projects.
Corrosion is one of the main causes of degradation in industrial installations. The ELCAT group can consult on this with a variety of electrochemical analysis tools such as impedance spectroscopy. Other services can be provided in the field of CO2 reduction, organic electrochemistry and electrochemical reactor engineering.
Designing an industrial separation process is virtual impossible without accurate physicochemical data of the chemical species involved. For complex separation processes it can also be highly beneficial to conduct trial separation runs in pilot scale equipment in order to test the validity of the design procedures. The ELCAT group can offer expertise on debottlenecking, physicochemical data measurements and pilot scale trial separation runs for third parties to facilitate easier scale-up of separation processes.