April 10-14, 2016
Cost-effective electrochemical CO2 recycling (ECO2R), is the holy grail of green chemistry. ECO2R combines just three inputs: CO2, water, and electricity, and converts them into useful products. At commercial scale, this technology could eliminate our dependence on fossil resources by providing an alternative source of carbon-based compounds for fuels and commodity chemicals. However, commercial fuel and chemical production via ECO2R is challenging, because the current state of the technology is not cost-effective enough to compete with conventionally manufactured fuels and chemicals already on the market.
The key cost-drivers of ECO2R are the energy efficiency, product selectivity, and current density. Based on these metrics, we have developed a model for the cost of ECO2R-derived compounds. We will use the model to compare the cost to fuels and chemicals derived from traditional sources and identify the technical barriers that need to be overcome to reduce the cost, including challenging electrocatalysis[1-3] and difficulties in achieving the high current density needed for a cost-competitive process because of limited carbon dioxide solubility.
To overcome barriers to commercialization, Opus 12 is developing novel electrocatalysts and a proprietary reactor design. Improved catalysts possess low overpotentials (higher energy efficiency) and high product selectivity and our reactor design is capable of high current densities with minimal voltage losses (higher energy efficiency). We will present our technical progress in terms of the key cost-drivers. Using these metrics, we can estimate the current cost of ECO2R and present a roadmap of improvements needed to further reduce costs to compete with traditional chemicals and fuels derived from fossil resources.
 K.P. Kuhl, E.R. Cave, D.N. Abram, T.F. Jaramillo, New insights into the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide on metallic copper surfaces, Energy Env. Sci., 5 (2012) 7050-7059.  K.P. Kuhl, T. Hatsukade, E.R. Cave, D.N. Abram, J. Kibsgaard, T.F. Jaramillo, Electrocatalytic Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Methane and Methanol on Transition Metal Surfaces, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 136 (2014) 14107-14113.  F.S. Roberts, K.P. Kuhl, A. Nilsson, High Selectivity for Ethylene from Carbon Dioxide Reduction over Copper Nanocube Electrocatalysts, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 54 (2015) 5179-5182.