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Continuum Modeling of Porous Electrodes for Electrochemical Synthesis.


Electrochemical synthesis possesses substantial promise to utilize renewable energy sources to power the conversion of abundant feedstocks to value-added commodity chemicals and fuels. Of the potential system architectures for these processes, only systems employing 3-D structured porous electrodes have the capacity to achieve the high rates of conversion necessary for industrial scale. However, the phenomena and environments in these systems are not well understood and are challenging to probe experimentally. Fortunately, continuum modeling is well-suited to rationalize the observed behavior in electrochemical synthesis, as well as to ultimately provide recommendations for guiding the design of next-generation devices and components. In this review, we begin by presenting an historical review of modeling of porous electrode systems, with the aim of showing how past knowledge of macroscale modeling can contribute to the rising challenge of electrochemical synthesis. We then present a detailed overview of the governing physics and assumptions required to simulate porous electrode systems for electrochemical synthesis. Leveraging the developed understanding of porous-electrode theory, we survey and discuss the present literature reports on simulating multiscale phenomena in porous electrodes in order to demonstrate their relevance to understanding and improving the performance of devices for electrochemical synthesis. Lastly, we provide our perspectives regarding future directions in the development of models that can most accurately describe and predict the performance of such devices and discuss the best potential applications of future models.

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