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Issue 5, 2013
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Capture and electrochemical conversion of CO2 to value-added carbon and oxygen by molten salt electrolysis

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Abstract

A molten salt electrochemical system comprising a eutectic mixture of Li–Na–K carbonates, a Ni cathode, and a SnO2 inert anode is proposed for the capture and electrochemical conversion of CO2. It is demonstrated that CO2 can be effectively captured by molten carbonates, and subsequently electrochemically split into amorphous carbon on the cathode, and oxygen gas at the anode. The carbon materials generated at the cathode exhibit high BET surface areas of more than 400 m2 g−1 and as such, represent value-added products for a variety of applications such as energy storage and pollutant adsorption. In the carbonate eutectic (500 °C), the presence of Li2CO3 is shown to be required for the deposition of carbon from the melt, wherein O2− or Li2O serves as the intermediate for CO2 capture and electrochemical conversion. SnO2 proved to be an effective anode for the electrochemical evolution of oxygen. Electrochemical reactions were found to proceed at relatively high current efficiencies, even though the current densities exceed 50 mA cm−2. The intrinsic nature of alkaline oxides for CO2 capture, the conversion of CO2 to value-added products, and the ability to drive the process with renewable energy sources such as solar power, enables the technology to be engineered for high flux capture and utilization of CO2.

Graphical abstract: Capture and electrochemical conversion of CO2 to value-added carbon and oxygen by molten salt electrolysis

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Nov 2012, accepted on 25 Feb 2013 and first published on 25 Feb 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE24132G
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2013,6, 1538-1545
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    Capture and electrochemical conversion of CO2 to value-added carbon and oxygen by molten salt electrolysis

    H. Yin, X. Mao, D. Tang, W. Xiao, L. Xing, H. Zhu, D. Wang and D. R. Sadoway, Energy Environ. Sci., 2013, 6, 1538
    DOI: 10.1039/C3EE24132G

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