Join us to celebrate WIN members' outstanding achievements! The research celebration will run from 4:00 - 5:00pm on December 2nd in QNC 2502 and will be followed by a holiday reception from 5:00 - 6:30pm in the QNC Basement Atrium. Registration for the research celebration and the holiday reception are seperate. Please be sure to register for the event(s) you plan to attend by November 24th, 2022.
Registration is required. If you have any questions or issues registering, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
|4:00 PM||Bernard Duncker, Associate Vice-President, Research and International, will bring greetings|
|4:05 PM||Sushanta Mitra, WIN Executive Director, opening remarks and introduces WIN Rising Star Recipients|
|4:10 PM||WIN Rising Star 2021 Recipient Cao Thang Dinh, Keynote Presentation|
|4:45 PM||Sushanta Mitra presents WIN Research Leaders with their awards|
|4:50 PM||Sushanta Mitra introduces Outstanding Staff Award|
|5:00 - 6:30 PM||Reception with Poster Presentations by 2022 Nanofellowship Recipients at QNC Basement|
WIN Rising Star 2021 Recipient
Electrosynthesis of Renewable Fuels and Chemicals
Limiting global warming to 1.5oC versus pre-industrial levels would imply reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emission to net-zero by 2050. To make this happen requires a fast transition of traditional fossil fuels to renewable energy such as wind and solar. While these renewable energies are very abundant, their intermittency requires long-term and large-scale storage solution for further deployment as replacements of fossil fuels. Transition to solar and wind electricity will also need to be accompanied by electrification of our energy sector. While electrifying energy services such as short-distance transport, heating, and cooling can be relatively straightforward, other energy services including aviation, long-distance transport, and cement and steel industries are likely to be more difficult to electrify.
Electrochemical CO2 reduction (ECR) powered by renewable energy, offers a potential solution to both renewable electricity storage and hard-to-electrify energy services. The ECR process converts CO2 and water into compounds such as methane, methanol, ethanol, and ethylene, which are essentially the same as the fossil-derived fuels and chemicals. Therefore, products from ECR can be readily integrated into the current infrastructures for storage, transportation, and usage. However, unlike fossil fuels, the fuels from ECR are carbon-neutral because burning them dose not generate new CO2. Converting CO2 into chemical feedstock, on the other hand, allows the sequestration of CO2 into valuable and long-lifetime products such as polymers. This carbon-negative process can offset CO2 emission from hard-to-decarbonize processes, and thus, enabling a net zero carbon emission.
The ECR technology has received significant interest from both academy and industry over the last decades. In the last five years, the field has moved from traditional aqueous CO2 reduction system to gas-phase CO2 electrolysis. This new platform enables orders of magnitude higher current densities (reaction rates) compared to aqueous system, reaching over an Ampere per square centimeter (A/cm2), which is on a par with commercial water electrolyzers for hydrogen production. The gas-phase electrolysis also opens opportunities for exploring new materials and chemistry in CO2 reduction, leading to significant jumps in selectivity, current density, and energy efficiency - the three important performance metrics in ECR. While these advances have brought ECR closer to practical application and much effort on scaling up this technology is underway, further improvements in ECR performance, especially the stability and energy efficiency, are needed before it can be deployed at large scale.
In this talk, I will discuss how gas-phase CO2 electrolysis platform has transformed ECR for producing renewable fuels and chemicals. Particularly, I will focus on strategies that combine gas-phase system engineering and material design to advance ECR technology. Finally, I will share my view on what it takes and the path forward for producing renewable fuels and chemicals at industrial scale.