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Carbon Dioxide Utilisation via Co-electrolysis: Optimising Operating Strategies

Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering

About the Project

Recycling carbon dioxide to form fuel gives the potential for a carbon neutral fuel cycle – reducing net CO2 emissions and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Electrolysis using a solid oxide cell has been shown to be an effective way of co-reducing CO2 and H2O to form syngas, the precursor for synthetic fuels. Whilst much research has been done on co-electrolysis in recent years, there still remain significant gaps in the understanding of fundamental reaction mechanisms and operating regimes to reduce degradation and extend lifetime. These need to be answered in order for co-electrolysis to reach large scale commercialisation. The effectiveness of reactant conversion to syngas in a solid oxide electrolyser is related to a number of factors including materials and microstructure of the cell, operating conditions and operating strategies and input gas.

The goal of this project is to optimise the operating strategy of a solid oxide electrolyser to maximise syngas output and electrolyser lifetime. The project is predominantly experimental and will investigate the degradation occurring in a solid oxide cell and strategies to overcome it, including voltage pulsing and cycling between fuel cell and electrolysis modes. The effect of impurities in the gas feed, to mimic those experienced in flue gas from power plants and industrial processes, will be investigated.

Training will be provided on all the experimental equipment used, including high temperature electrolysis test stations, scanning electron microscopy, impedance spectroscopy, gas chromatography and relevant software.

This project covers many aspects of engineering and is in an exciting and rapidly developing field. Clean energy is becoming increasingly important and the employment prospects at the end of the project are excellent.

Lab consumables e.g. gases, cell materials. Equipment is already available in my laboratory. Consumables will be funded through grants that I have and am currently applying for.

Funding Notes

Masters degree in chemical engineering, materials science or related subject.

If English is not your first language then you must have International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) average of 6.5 or above with at least 6.0 in each component.

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