Continuous production of pure liquid fuel solutions via electrocatalytic CO2 reduction using solid-electrolyte devices

Chuan Xia, Peng Zhu, Qiu Jiang, Ying Pan, Wentao Liang, Eli Stavitsk, Husam N. Alshareef, Haotian Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations

Abstract

Electrocatalytic CO2 reduction is often carried out in a solution electrolyte such as KHCO3(aq), which allows for ion conduction between electrodes. Therefore, liquid products that form are in a mixture with the dissolved salts, requiring energy-intensive downstream separation. Here, we report continuous electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 to pure liquid fuel solutions in cells that utilize solid electrolytes, where electrochemically generated cations (such as H+) and anions (such as HCOO−) are combined to form pure product solutions without mixing with other ions. Using a HCOOH-selective (Faradaic efficiencies > 90%) and easily scaled Bi catalyst at the cathode, we demonstrate production of pure HCOOH solutions with concentrations up to 12 M. We also show 100 h continuous and stable generation of 0.1 M HCOOH with negligible degradation in selectivity and activity. Production of other electrolyte-free C2+ liquid oxygenate solutions, including acetic acid, ethanol and n-propanol, are also demonstrated using a Cu catalyst. Finally, we show that our CO2 reduction cell with solid electrolytes can be modified to suit other, more complex practical applications.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)776-785
Number of pages10
JournalNature Energy
Volume4
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2 2019

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