Modeling the electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide to formic acid or formate at elevated pressures

Andrew R.T. Morrison, Vincent van Beusekom, Mahinder Ramdin, Leo Van den Broeke, Thijs J.H. Vlugt, Wiebren de Jong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
323 Downloads (Pure)


In this work a model of an elevated pressure CO2 electrolyzer producing primarily formate or formic acid is presented. It consists of three parts: A model of the bulk electrolyte, the diffusion layer, and the electrode surface. Data from the literature was used to validate both the bulk portion of the model, as well as the overall model. Results from the literature were further explored and explained by reference to the model and faradaic efficiency is predicted very well (R-Square of 0.99 for the fitted data, and 0.98 for the non-fitted data). The primary effect of increasing the pressure on a CO2 electrolyzer is seen to be increasing the maximum attainable partial current density, while the faradaic efficiency and specific energy of formation plateau at pressures above 10-20 bar, at 95% and of 3.7 kWh/kg, respectively. Unlike the efficiencies, the profitability of running a reactor increases with pressure, following a similar trend as partial current density, showing the importance of this quantity as a performance metric of a CO2 electrolyzer. In general this work shows the utility of a model of this sort in the design, evaluation and operation of CO2 electrolyzers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E77-E86
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Electrochemical Engineering
  • Energy Conversion
  • Industrial Electrolysis
  • CO2 electroreduction
  • High Pressure Electrolyzer
  • Simulation


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