/Novel Solid composite electrolytes for electrolytic carbon capture and utilization

Novel Solid composite electrolytes for electrolytic carbon capture and utilization

Leuven | More than two weeks ago

contribute to technology that will help reduce carbon emissions

The carbon clock is ticking! If our society continues emitting greenhouse gases at the current rate, our carbon emission budget will be finished in 7.5 years to meet the 1.5oC target set by governments worldwide [1]. Anthropogenic emissions have reached such a point that switching to renewable energy sources will not be sufficient to limit global warming effects. Capturing CO2 from air or heavily polluting chemical/steel plants to electrochemically converting it to useful products offers promising features. It would indeed allow to simultaneously address greenhouse gas emissions, long term renewable energy storage and enable renewables synthesis of chemicals (e.g. syngas, formic acid, methanol, ethylene). Current research in the field has mostly focused on catalyst development, but important limitations such as CO2 solubility are impeding upscaling outlooks. Diverse solutions, such as the use of Gas Diffusion Electrodes or high temperature gas phase operation have been proposed [2], [3]. However, most of these applications rely on high pressures and/or purity of the CO2 feed stream, while applications for point source treatment or direct air capture require quite opposite conditions.

Mesoporous oxides materials have been developed at Imec for solid state battery applications [4]. The potential of these materials as solid composite electrolytes at mild operating conditions in wet conditions is yet to be investigated. In this project, the student will dive into the understanding and synthesis of these materials in order to reach high conductivity for novel electrolytic applications. Sol-gel methods and the effect of functionalization for improved ionic conductivity are to be explored, together with different deposition methods (drop casting, dip coating, spin coating, electrochemical depositions, ...). Impedance spectroscopy at different relative humidity will be used among others to characterize the electrochemical properties of the material. The work will be executed in the labs at imec in collaboration with researchers from the Energy Storage and Conversion group. A strong interest and intrinsic motivation for the topic are expected.


Required background: Chemistry, Materials Science, Nanotechnology 

Type of work: Experimental 


[1]              “Remaining carbon budget - Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC).” https://www.mcc-berlin.net/en/research/co2-budget.html (accessed Feb. 02, 2022).

[2]              S. Hernandez-Aldave and E. Andreoli, “Fundamentals of Gas Diffusion Electrodes and Electrolysers for Carbon Dioxide Utilisation: Challenges and Opportunities,” Catalysts, vol. 10, no. 6, Art. no. 6, Jun. 2020, doi: 10.3390/catal10060713.

[3]              L. Zhang, S. Hu, X. Zhu, and W. Yang, “Electrochemical reduction of CO2 in solid oxide electrolysis cells,” J. Energy Chem., vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 593–601, Jul. 2017, doi: 10.1016/j.jechem.2017.04.004.

[4]              X. Chen and P. M. Vereecken, “Solid and Solid-Like Composite Electrolyte for Lithium Ion Batteries: Engineering the Ion Conductivity at Interfaces,” Adv. Mater. Interfaces, vol. 6, no. 1, p. 1800899, 2019, doi: 10.1002/admi.201800899.



Type of project: Thesis, Internship

Duration: 1 year

Required degree: Master of Bioengineering, Master of Science

Required background: Bioscience Engineering

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Marieke van Leeuwen (Marieke.vanLeeuwen@imec.be)

Only for self-supporting students.

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