Non-invasive current collectors for improved current-density distribution during CO2 electrolysis on super-hydrophobic electrodes

Hugo Pieter Iglesias van Montfort, Mengran Li, Erdem Irtem, Maryam Abdinejad, Yuming Wu, Santosh K. Pal, Mark Sassenburg, Davide Ripepi, Siddhartha Subramanian, Jasper Biemolt, Thomas E. Rufford, Thomas Burdyny*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Electrochemical reduction of CO2 presents an attractive way to store renewable energy in chemical bonds in a potentially carbon-neutral way. However, the available electrolyzers suffer from intrinsic problems, like flooding and salt accumulation, that must be overcome to industrialize the technology. To mitigate flooding and salt precipitation issues, researchers have used super-hydrophobic electrodes based on either expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) gas-diffusion layers (GDL’s), or carbon-based GDL’s with added PTFE. While the PTFE backbone is highly resistant to flooding, the non-conductive nature of PTFE means that without additional current collection the catalyst layer itself is responsible for electron-dispersion, which penalizes system efficiency and stability. In this work, we present operando results that illustrate that the current distribution and electrical potential distribution is far from a uniform distribution in thin catalyst layers (~50 nm) deposited onto ePTFE GDL’s. We then compare the effects of thicker catalyst layers (~500 nm) and a newly developed non-invasive current collector (NICC). The NICC can maintain more uniform current distributions with 10-fold thinner catalyst layers while improving stability towards ethylene (≥ 30%) by approximately two-fold.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6579
Number of pages11
JournalNature Communications
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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