Electrochemical conversion of CO2 to formic acid at elevated temperatures to pair with anodic alkane dehydrogenation

01/03/2021 - 28/02/2025

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).
However, to make the process more rapidly industrially feasible it would be beneficial to replace the anodic oxygen evolution reaction at the counter electrode with an economically more interesting one, like alkane dehydrogenation. This reaction, however, requires elevated temperatures, up to 100°C, which signifies that the cathodic CO2 reduction should also operate efficiently at these temperatures.
Unfortunately, nearly all research focuses on reducing CO2 efficiently at near-ambient temperatures (≤ 40 °C) and little is known on the impact of elevated temperatures on the overall performance of CO2 reducing electrolyzers and especially electrocatalysts. It is thus critical to develop electrocatalysts that allow high and stable electrochemical CO2 reduction performance to formic acid at elevated temperatures, which will be tried to achieve by utilizing SnO2 on advanced carbon supports. Ultimately this will allow the ECR to be coupled with alkane dehydrogenation in a co-electrolysis setup. Here, the membrane between anodic and cathodic compartments will also be examined, as it is critical that it conducts protons even at 100-200°C.