Uppsala University

Electrolyzers for Selective Carbon Dioxide-to-Ethylene Reduction

  • Energy
  • Structures
Academic project

Research question

The goal of the project is to develop conceptionally novel electrolyzers that electrochemically reduce carbon dioxide from point source emitters to the value-added commodity chemical ethylene. The ingenuity of the project lies in the cathode design which consists of molecular CO2 reduction (CO2RR) catalysts that are incorporated in permanently porous metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). In collaboration with our partners at research institutes in Sweden and Belgium, we will mature the technology by optimizing the catalyst/electrode interface and device assembly.

Sustainability aspects

CO2 capture and utilization (CCU) is one of the key technologies to minimize our society’s carbon footprint. It uses CO2 emissions as carbon feedstock for the sustainable production of carbon-based chemicals and fuels, which are otherwise produced from fossil sources. CCU holds the key to a circular economy and offers fertile grounds for innovation. CCU also constitutes an energy storage technology, as it converts renewable electricity to high energy products. Such power–to–X technologies have gained considerable attention in recent years. However, as pointed out in a recent European policy paper, current trajectories for energy storage will fall short in achieving the 2030 EU target by 30 %. Thus, disruptive technologies and a massive scale up are needed.

The proposed project not only prevents CO2 emissions, but also decreases our dependence on fossil resources. The latter has an ethical dimension, as many countries from which we purchase natural oil and gas are governed by non-democratic regimes. Thus, the project has the potential to decrease Sweden’s dependence on imports of fossil fuels, and thus also has an aspect of energy security. All of these factors are important societal values.

researcher photo

Uppsala University

Sascha Ott



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