The majority of the natural issues the world is confronting today is because of our dependence on fossil fuels and the increase in CO2 emissions. The alternative solution for this problem is the use of renewable energy for the energy production, but these are uncertain energy sources. So, the combination of reducing carbon dioxide with the use of renewable energy sources is the finest way to mitigate this problem. Electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide (ERC) is a reasonable approach as it eliminates as well as utilizes the carbon dioxide as a source for generating valuable products.
In this study, development of electrochemical reactor, characterization of membrane electrode assembly (MEA) and analysis of electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide (ERC) is discussed. Electrodes using various catalyst materials in solid polymer based electrolyte (SPE) along with gas diffusion layer (GDL) are developed. The prepared membrane electrodes are characterized under ex-situ conditions using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The membranes are later placed in the electrochemical reactor for the in-situ characterization to assess the performance of the membrane electrode assembly.
The electrodes are processed by airbrushing the metal particles on the nafion membrane and then are electrochemically characterized by linear sweep voltammetry. The anode was kept constant with platinum whereas the cathode was examined with compositions of different metal catalysts. The products formed subsequently are analyzed using gas chromatography (GC) and Residual gas analysis (RGA). Hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO) are detected using GC while the hydrocarbons are detected by performing quantitative analysis using RGA. The preliminary experiments gave very encouraging results. However, more work needs to be done to achieve new heights.