Integrated CO2 capture and electrochemical conversion: development of an electrocatalytic system

01/05/2018 - 30/04/2022

Climate change and global warming pose an imminent global threat to our society and are directly linked to the rising CO2 levels in the earth’s atmosphere. Since the energy sector is an important contributor, significant impact is to be achieved in the transition from fossil-based towards renewable energy like solar or wind power. In this context, Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) can offer an economic-driven strategy to valorize low-carbon energy for the transformation of CO2 to different chemicals, fuels and mineralized products. The research strategy starts with the search for electrolytes that act as adequate CO2 capture solutions and media for electrocatalytic conversion of carbon species. The results will be validated in the second work package where new electrocatalytic materials are synthesized and screened electrochemical and analytically. The most promising electrocatalysts are applied where local electrode-surface effects on activity and selectivity are evaluated. Ideal reaction conditions and electrolyte composition are chosen for maximal conversion to the desired high valued chemicals. At the same time, the cell design is optimized. Finally, the post-reaction electrolytes will be evaluated and their compositions adjusted, if needed, for reuse as solution for CO2 capture.
The PhD study is executed in the frame of a strategic collaboration with the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) that, together with the expertise of the University of Antwerp (UA) on electrocatalysis, brings the opportunity for integration of the novel catalysts with VITO’s trademarked electrodes.