Bringing the Electrocatalytic Conversion of CO2 to formic acid towards an industrial feasibility by unraveling the fundamental role of the supporting Material (BECO2Me)
November 2019 – October 2023
Lowering the atmospheric CO2 concentrations and reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions is one of the greatest scientific challenges faced by the current generation. A possible strategy is to use H2O and CO2 as renewable feedstock for the production of fuels and chemicals. Simultaneously, excess electricity, generated by renewable energy sources, can be utilized to drive these reactions. In this PhD project, CO2 will be electrochemically converted to formic acid. Currently, the electrochemical reduction of CO2 is not yet industrially viable, mainly due to the robustness of the envisaged technology. While a lot of research focusses on the selectivity, the stability of the most commonly investigated electrocatalysts (i.e. nanoparticles (NPs) consisting of two different metals or bimetallic NPs) remains inadequate. Here, we propose to improve the stability by combining state-of-the-art bimetallic electrocatalysts with (doped) ordered mesoporous carbon (OMC) supporting materials. By incorporating these electrocatalysts into the structure of (doped) OMCs, the supporting material is able to significantly enhance the stability by inhibiting the agglomeration and detachment of nanoparticles. Furthermore, the effect of doping these carbon materials with foreign elements (e.g. N, B, P) on the reaction outcome will also be investigated. Finally, by characterizing both electrocatalyst and support the impact of loading, configuration and surface area will be unraveled.