(123d) Separation of diluted ethanol produced by CO2 electrolysis can be cost effective
AIChE Annual Meeting
2022 Annual Meeting
Fuels and Petrochemicals Division
Developments in Electrochemical Reactors, Fuel Cells, and Electrolyzers II
Monday, November 14, 2022 - 1:35pm to 1:55pm
Electrolysis of CO2 to ethanol, powered by renewable energy, is a promising pathway for a sustainable production of a molecule that can be used both as a precursor for chemical synthesis and as an energy source. However, a key challenge in the realization of the process in the industrial environment is the low concentration of ethanol streams obtained from electrocatalytic reactors (~1 to 10 vol%). As a result, required separation processes are believed to limit the economic viability and the possibilities of the scale-up of the process. Here we report how to overcome this bottleneck and present an experimental report of a tandem electrocatalytic reactor â porous membrane separator that allows to produce a concentrated ethanol stream (up to 40 vol%). By exploring the synergies between the optimal environment necessary for CO2 electrolysis and subsequent separations, we present an overall process that allows to manufacture ethanol at a cost below the current market benchmark (0.9 USD/l).