Project News

Advancing CO2 Reduction Technologies: Faria’s Journey with the ECO2Fuel Project

Faria joined DLR in November 2023 as part of the ECO2Fuel project, where she focused on the scale-up of electrochemical cells and the design of catalyst layers to efficiently convert CO2 into value-added fuels and alcohols. During her doctoral research, she investigated the influence of the gas diffusion layer to enhance the mass transport of CO2 into the catalyst layer. Additionally, she tuned the catalyst layer with bimetallic alloys to produce certain alcohols with high Faradaic efficiency. She also tested various adhesion layers, such as polymers and ionomers, to prevent the premature delamination of the catalyst layer during the electrochemical reduction reaction.

Advancing CO2 Reduction Technologies: Faria's Journey with the ECO2Fuel Project

During her master’s at the Ruhr University of Bochum, Faria worked on developing electrochemical biosensors. A significant part of her work involved successfully developing a flow cell system for electrochemical protein synthesis.

She is very excited to continue her work in optimizing electrochemical methods for reducing CO2 into value-added fuels and alcohols. Learning about the developments made in recent years by members of the ECO2Fuel project has been inspiring for her. Faria hopes to contribute similarly in developing efficient renewable energy systems for CO2 reduction in this project.


Alkaline electrolysis using CuOx cathode for the conversion of carbon dioxide into liquid fuels


Electrochemical reduction of CO2 is an effective method for storing intermittent renewable energy. This could result in fuel additives and chemical feedstocks such as alcohols. A challenge of electrochemical alcohol production is the transfer of electrons and protons, as well as the formation of C–C bonds. As of now, copper-based materials are the most commonly used and effective catalysts. Although CuOx is considered a promising catalyst for electrochemical CO2 reduction reactions (CO2RR), significant improvements in product selectivity are still needed. This paper presents some results obtained using copper oxide as a cathode, combined with 33% of ionomer, nickel iron as anode, and membrane Fumatech as electrolyte. As a result of physico-chemical experiments, morphological measurements of the cathode, electrochemical experiments carried out with a complete zero-gap cell operating under alkaline conditions, and gas-chromatographic (GC) analyses of the cathode outlet stream, we determined that methyl formate, ethanol, and propanol were mainly obtained at a rate of 116.3 μmol gcat−1h−1 during operation at 2.2 V.

Zignani, S.C., Lo Faro, M., Carbone, A. et al. Alkaline electrolysis using CuOx cathode for the conversion of carbon dioxide into liquid fuels. Mater Renew Sustain Energy 12, 141–146 (2023).