More efficient electrodes for CO2 recycling

By using an infrared camera, the research team can detect the distribution of electrons on the electrode. Using these insights, they then designed a new way of delivering these electrons more evenly over the surface (Illustration: TUD)

November 15 2023 – With the ever-increasing interest in renewable energy, scientists are continuously searching for new technologies to store energy. CO2 electrolysis is a promising way to store energy whilst recycling carbon dioxide. By applying electricity, CO2 and water react and produce more complex molecules. A study published in Nature Communications lead by Hugo van Montfort at TU Delft has presented a new design of electrodes that improves the efficiency of CO2 electrolysis.
CO2 electrolysis offers two enormous benefits as a technology for energy production. First, it is a carbon-neutral way of producing complex molecules, such as ethylene and methane. These substances are used in the chemical industry to produce plastics, textile and other materials. These molecules would normally have to be extracted from gas, or oil. The scaling of this technology would thus reduce the use of fossil fuels. Moreover, this technology only relies on water and carbon dioxide, a molecule that is produced as waste in many industrial processes and of which there is an abundance in the atmosphere already.

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