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(730j) Tandem Carbon Dioxide Electrolysis Process for Multicarbon Chemical Production

Jiao, F. - Presenter, University of Delaware
Electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) using renewable electricity is an attractive approach for sustainable production of fuels and chemicals. Copper (Cu) has a unique capability of catalyzing carbon-carbon (C-C) bond formation to form high-value multi-carbon (C2+) products. While highly alkaline electrolytes are often used to enhance C2+ selectivity, the inevitable reaction of hydroxide ions with CO2 to form undesired carbonates at the electrode-electrolyte interface disrupts the electrolysis process. This fundamental challenge can be solved by decoupling the CO2 electrolysis into a two-step process, where CO2 is first electrochemically reduced to carbon monoxide (CO) at neutral conditions, followed by CO electroreduction to produce C2+ chemicals in alkaline environments. The feasibility of two-step tandem CO2 electrolysis has been demonstrated experimentally by Romero Cuellar and co-workers [1], who reported a total CO2 reduction current density of 300 mA/cm2 with a cumulative Faradaic efficiency of 62% towards C2+ products. However, the system is far from optimized when compared to standalone CO2 and CO electrolysis technologies. In this talk, we will present the latest development of the tandem CO2 electrolysis process for multicarbon chemical production, including the electrocatalyst design, reactor engineering, process optimization, and techno-economic analysis. Additionally, we will discuss the future opportunities for carbon dioxide utilization through tandem and hybrid processes [2].


[1] Romero Cuellar, N.S., Scherer, C., Kaçkar, B., Eisenreich, W., Huber, C., Wiesner-Fleischer, K., Fleischer, M., and Hinrichsen, O. Two-step electrochemical reduction of CO2 towards multi-carbon products at high current densities. J. CO2 Util. 2020; 36: 263-275.

[2] Overa, S., Feric, T. G., Park, A. H. A.* & Jiao, F.* Tandem and Hybrid Processes for Carbon Dioxide Utilization. Joule 5, 8-13 (2021). doi: 10.1016/j.joule.2020.12.004