Studies of Electrochemical CO2 Reduction in Membrane-Electrode Assemblies
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Studies of Electrochemical CO2 Reduction in Membrane-Electrode Assemblies

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Gas-diffusion electrodes (GDEs) for electrochemical CO2 reduction allow for an order-of-magnitude increase in obtainable limiting current densities (~100 mA/cm2) compared to planar systems (~10 mA/cm2) due to the increase in CO2 flux, catalyst surface area, and reduction in diffusion length. Despite this improvement, aqueous GDE systems suffer from extensive catalyst dissolution/delamination and membrane degradation under operating conditions, as well as exhibit significant ohmic resistances stemming from their electrolyte layers. These characteristics limit the current densities that can be achieved at applied overpotentials and render them impractical for industrial implementation. Membrane-electrode assemblies (MEAs), consisting of humidified gaseous feeds at one or both electrodes and no aqueous electrolyte between the electrodes (i.e. only using a solid ion-conducting polymer or ionomer as an electrolyte), can overcome the limitations of the aqueous GDE. In this poster, two MEA cell designs will be addressed: Full-MEA (humidified gaseous feeds at both the anode and cathode) and Exchange-MEA (humidified gaseous feed at the cathode and an adjoining water or salt solution, e.g. KHCO3 or KOH, at the anode to provide hydration and a source of ions). The experimental performance results obtained from the near-optimized vapor-fed Full-MEA and H2O Exchange-MEA systems for CO2RR at ambient temperature and pressure conditions and the details of our ongoing work in building a fully integrated, tandem/cascade catalysis device are described. This poster also details plans for future investigations in exploring critical fabrication, operating conditions, and MEA properties. Acknowledgements This material is based upon work performed by the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub, supported through the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Award Number DE-SC0004993. We would also like to thank Nemanja Danilovic, Kun Jiang, Julie Fornaciari, Yagya Regmi, Douglas Kushner, and Christianna Lininger for their help, discussions, and guidance in the course of this research project.

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