Projects

E3C – Electrons to Close the Carbon Cycle

Electrochemical reduction of CO2 through hollow fibre electrode technology.

Incentive

Renewable electricity (RE) generation is currently growing at a rapid pace. Managing demand and supply of electricity is becoming an issue even at current levels of RE. Converting electrical energy into chemical energy is an attractive pathway to manage the balance, given the lack of options to store electricity. Such technology should be able to “absorb” large quantities of electricity to make useful products.

Most importantly, it also enables decarbonisation of existing fossil-based pathways. Decarbonisation can be achieved by replacing fossil-based energy carriers by renewable electricity-based ones. It implies that carbon built into the transport fuel or chemical product should be based on recycled carbon. A technology which uses renewable electricity as the energy source and CO₂ as the carbon source effectively closes the carbon cycle.

Objective

The most direct route to achieve this is the electrochemical reduction of CO2. However, the energy efficiency and chemical selectivity of current methods for electro-catalytic reduction of CO₂ are low. Recently, we presented a new electrode concept, based on copper hollow fibres. Using the hollow fibres as a cathode allows the reduction of carbon dioxide to predominantly carbon monoxide and oxygen. On lab-scale, we have shown a Faradaic efficiency of up to 80%. The objective of this project is to validate the practical application of the hollow fibre electrode technology for the reduction of CO2, and to extend the applicability to other electrochemical processes, including the cathodic conversion of nitrogen to ammonia.

Grant provider

This project is co-funded with subsidy from the Topsector Energy by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

Sustainable development goals

This project contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Project partners

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