Electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide: effect of the cell and of the operating parameters on the performances of the process.

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Recycling technologies of CO2 allow to introduce renewable energy in the chemical and energy chain, storing a renewable energy in the chemical form. In this context, electrochemical conversion of CO2 is considered one of the more interesting approaches, using excess electric energy from intermittent renewable sources. (1) Furthermore, products can be selectively controlled by changing the operating conditions of electrolysis. In particular, in the last years, an increasing attention has been devoted to the electrochemical conversion of CO2 to formic acid or formate in water. (2,3,4) The main hurdle of the reduction of CO2 from water solution is the low CO2 solubility in water. In this work, a systematic study on the effect of the CO2 pressure and of other operating parameters on the conversion of CO2 at tin flat cathodes to formic acid was performed to overcome this obstacle. The reduction of CO2 was first studied in a glass undivided cell at atmospheric pressure to evaluate the effect of various operating parameters, including the nature of the anode and of the supporting electrolyte, the mixing rate, the current density and cathode to anode area ratio. Subsequently, in order to improve the performance of the process, a series of electrolysis was performed in a batch stainless steel undivided cell in a wide range of pressure of CO2 and current density. It was shown that an increase of the pressure leads to a drastic enhancement of the final formic acid concentration. Indeed, the utilization of relatively high CO2 pressures (15–30 bar) allowed to achieve high concentrations of formic acid (up to 0.46 mol L-1) at high current density (up to 90 mA cm-2) and with cheap and simple undivided cell. (5) Several researchers have discussed the economic feasibility for large-scale design of the CO2mitigation electrochemistry system, by suggesting that could be operationally profitable. Therefore, in the last stage, the process was performed in a pressurized filter-press cell, suitable for scale-up on applicative scale. The goal of this research is to provide an electrochemical process sustainable at applicative point of view characterized by a high yield and selectivity of the product. Long-term stability has also to be acquired in order to obtain an interesting alternative at commercial level for the conversion of carbon dioxide.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine0
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2017

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