Converting CO2 to energy for later use in a fuel cell is particularly relevant to reduce the carbon footprint of energy generation. Lead, tin and copper electrodes are among the most frequently studied electrodes in CO2 electroreduction. The co-catalytic activity of amino groups adsorbed on the surface of these electrodes, and their effect on the electro-reduction of CO2 into value-added products such as formate, formic acid and CO + H2 (syngas) is investigated. CO2 conversion efficiency will be monitored by MS to establish a relationship between activity, selectivity and local composition (XPS imaging).
Carbon-Neutral Fuel Cell
Fuel cell costs must be reduced to compete with conventional energy conversion technologies. This can be achieved by eliminating the ion-conducting membrane which separates the anode and cathode chambers. Such a device can produce formate at low temperatures by electrochemically reducing CO2 with low-cost metal catalysts and renewable energy (see above). Pulsed laser deposition (PLD) will be used to prepare thin films of mixed metallic elements with inhomogeneous concentration profiles and variable atomic ratios. A broad range of compositions can be tested via high-throughput analyses. In operando and spatially resolved analyses of the reaction products formed at each electrode potential are required to successfully identify the most active compositions. To understand the structure-property relationship in the development of new catalysts, we focus on the monitoring of the surface structure (XRD), the morphology (AFM) and the composition (XPS) of the catalyst’s evolution during the electrocatalysis processes.