Techno-economic Assessment of CO2 Electrolysis: How Interdependencies between Model Variables Propagate Across Different Modeling Scales

Isabell Bagemihl*, Lucas Cammann, Mar Pérez-Fortes, Volkert van Steijn, J. Ruud van Ommen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
89 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The production of base chemicals by electrochemical conversion of captured CO2 has the potential to close the carbon cycle, thereby contributing to a future energy transition. With the feasibility of low-temperature electrochemical CO2 conversion demonstrated at lab scale, research is shifting toward optimizing electrolyser design and operation for industrial applications, with target values based on techno-economic analysis. However, current techno-economic analyses often neglect experimentally reported interdependencies of key performance variables such as the current density, the faradaic efficiency, and the conversion. Aiming to understand the impact of these interdependencies on the economic outlook, we develop a model capturing mass transfer effects over the channel length for an alkaline, membrane electrolyser. Coupling the channel scale with the higher level process scale and embedding this multiscale model in an economic framework allows us to analyze the economic trade-off between the performance variables. Our analysis shows that the derived target values for the performance variables strongly depend on the interdependencies described in the channel scale model. Our analysis also suggests that economically optimal current densities can be as low as half of the previously reported benchmarks. More generally, our work highlights the need to move toward multiscale models, especially in the field of CO2 electrolysis, to effectively elucidate current bottlenecks in the quest toward economically compelling system designs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10130-10141
Number of pages12
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Volume11
Issue number27
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • CO electrolysis
  • First-principle electrolyser model
  • Multiscale modeling
  • Optimization
  • Techno-economic analysis

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