Electrochemical reduction of CO2: developing innovative electrode geometries and an attractive anode process

Epoxidation of alkenes as an alternative anodic process in electrochemical CO2 reduction: Electrochemistry enables the sustainable production of chemical building blocks by the conversion of carbon dioxide to syngas or hydrocarbons at a cathode, which is usually paired with the oxidation of water at the anode, producing oxygen. However, oxygen is a product with little financial value, and the oxygen evolution reaction is energetically demanding. Alternative oxidation reactions producing high-value products with lower energy demand include the epoxidation of alkenes, such as ethylene and propylene. In this project we will develop electrode/electrolyte systems to improve the productivity and energy efficiency of alkene oxidation reactions. A special electrode configuration will be utilized - the hollow fiber electrode -, which principally minimizes mass transfer limitations. The effect of electrolyte composition, gas flow rates, pH and applied electrochemical potential, will be investigated to find the optimal process conditions. Once these are found and well understood, the alternative anodic process will be integrated with the CO2 reduction reaction.