VENI - Tom Burdyny
New energy technologies that produce electricity, chemicals and fuels with low-carbon intensities are essential in the upcoming energy transition away from fossil-fuels. One such technology, electrochemical CO2 reduction (also known as CO2 electrolyzers), can fill this role by directly converting carbon-dioxide into base chemicals such as carbon-monoxide, ethylene and ethanol, building blocks for many common chemicals and fuels. CO2 electrolyzers are still in the early stage of development, however, with almost all current work focused on finding catalysts which can reduce CO2 with excellent catalytic properties including selectivity, activity and stability. Comparatively little effort has gone into the CO2 electrolyzer reactor itself, which is essential to scale the technology to industrially-relevant sizes capable of impacting global CO2 emissions. Thus, even if ideal catalysts were discovered tomorrow, we lack the knowledge of how to implement them at a commercial scale. Tom Burdyny (Materials for Energy Conversion and Storage), who participates in the ambitious e-Refinery initiative, seeks to design and construct a 1 kW CO2 electrolyzer that is inherently stable and forms the foundation for further scaling.