Electrochemical Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Alcohols


USP-grade ethanol for laboratory use
USP-grade ethanol for laboratory use
University of Delaware
Website:  University of Delaware
Award Number:  FE0029868
Project Duration:  04/01/2017 – 05/31/2020
Total Award Value:  $1,000,000
DOE Share:  $800,000
Performer Share:  $200,000
Technology Area:  Carbon Use and Reuse
Key Technology:  Chemical Conversion
Location:  Newark, Delaware

Project Description

University of Delaware researchers will develop a novel integrated electrolysis system to produce C2-C3 alcohols, such as ethanol and propanol, using carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fired power plant flue gas. The conversion technology will produce these valuable chemicals through a two-stage electrolysis process. In the first stage, flue gas will be pretreated to remove contaminants and will then be converted into carbon monoxide (CO) by CO2 electrolysis, followed by the second stage electrolysis process where the produced CO will be further converted into liquid C2-C3 alcohols with a high selectivity and energy efficiency. The objectives of this research are to show that the approach is feasible for the reduction of CO2 emissions, to design and evaluate two electrolyzer subsystems (i.e., CO2 and CO), and to establish economic and life-cycle models assessed by experimental data.

Project Benefits

The efficiency of the proposed two-stage electrolysis process is expected to be much higher than that of any existing single-stage CO2 electrolyzer. The successful completion of this project will provide a new, feasible, and economically valid approach to utilize CO2 from coal-fired power plants as a feedstock to produce valuable chemicals.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
Bruce Lani: bruce.lani@netl.doe.gov
Technology Manager 
Lynn Brickett: lynn.brickett@netl.doe.gov
Principal Investigator 
Feng Jiao: jiao@udel.edu

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