Project News

Achieving Milestones in CO2 Electrolysis: MS9 and MS10

In the progressive world of CO2 Electrolysis, milestones MS9 and MS10 mark significant advancements, albeit with unique challenges. The recent achievement in MS9 was notable, as the cell potential reached an impressive 300mA/cm2 at 2V per cell. This indicates a substantial improvement in efficiency and performance, albeit not fully meeting the set milestone.

Achieving Milestones in CO2 Electrolysis: MS9 and MS10

Turning to MS10, significant strides were made in material selection. The milestone involved the critical selection and freezing of Gas Diffusion Layers (GDLs) and catalysts for both anode and cathode sides. This decision is crucial as it lays the foundation for the future efficiency and reliability of the fuel cells.

However, these advancements didn’t come without their challenges. One of the primary issues encountered was the stability of the test in terms of operational hours. This was primarily due to the clogging of the flow field, a result of salt precipitation. This phenomenon poses a significant threat to the consistent operation and longevity of the fuel cells.

In response to these challenges, researchers and engineers are diligently studying new procedures to mitigate these issues. Developing strategies to avoid clogging and ensure uninterrupted operation is a top priority. Another obstacle that surfaced was related to the scaling up of the substrate and the supplying materials. This highlights the complexities involved in transitioning from laboratory-scale successes to large-scale, commercially viable solutions.

Despite these challenges, the progress made in milestones MS9 and MS10 is a testament to the ongoing innovation in CO2 Electrolysis. As solutions to these challenges are developed, we can expect further advancements in this promising field, paving the way for more sustainable and efficient energy solutions.

Source: CNR & DeNora

Project News

The leading actor of CO2 Electroreduction

The electroreduction of CO2 bears several challenges, one of which is that the central reactant is in the gas phase. Due to that, when using conventional electrodes, the conversion of CO2 to valuable chemicals and fuels would proceed at a slow rate, rendering the process uneconomical.

The low concentration of CO2 in the electrolyte caused by its negligible solubility limits the mass transport at the electrode surfaces. To cope with this challenge, electrodes with an engineered porous structure were developed that drastically enhance the contact between the electrode, CO2 and the electrolyte; the three-phase boundary (TPB).

Source: De Nora

These enhanced electrodes, also known as gas diffusion electrodes (GDE), with improved mass transport kinetics, consist of a Macro Porous Substrate (MPS), a Micro Porous Layer (MPL) and the Catalyst Layer (CL), the latter consisting of a CO2 reduction catalyst and a polymeric binder.

Among varying many other parameters through which the GDE can be optimized to facilitate the electroreduction of CO2 efficiently, altering the porosity, hydrophobicity, and thickness of all three components display the most important ones.

“It’s important to design the right GDE structure in order to avoid the flooding and therefore loss of stability and activity” says Luca Riillo, Junior Researcher at De Nora.

In the ECO2Fuel project, we aim to provide an optimized GDE with high stability, performance, and selectivity toward liquid e-fuels.