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Conversion of carbon dioxide into fuels for energy storage.

Project Description

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is currently 411 parts per million (ppm) and increases 2 ppm/year possibly due to fossil fuel consumption, deforestation, as well as natural processes contributing to the greenhouse effect such as global warming. Carbon dioxide is used for oil recovery, manufacture of urea and methanol, beverage, carbonation, chemical synthesis and refrigeration and is a cheap source of carbon for synthesis. The concentration of CO2 is still too low to be economically viable to be recovered directly from the atmosphere and it is more feasible to capture it at the source of emissions.
The purpose of the project is to design and construct an electrochemical reactor that can electrochemically reduce carbon dioxide gas at the cathode while evolving oxygen at the anode. Typically, copper and silver catalysts are able to produce ethylene and carbon monoxide. The benefit of this project is the synthesis of fuels for energy storage and depletion of carbon dioxide emissions. The novelty is the design and construction of a fuel cell type carbon dioxide reduction reactor. This project is exciting and challenging and will benefit from the materials and knowledge acquired from a current H2020 European Union funded project (CO2EXIDE).

Funding Notes

You can apply for fully-funded studentships (stipend and fees) from INSPIRE if you:
Are a UK or EU national.
Have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
Have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Please click View Website for more information on eligibility and how to apply


1) D.T. Whipple, P.J.A. Kenis, (2010). Prospects of CO2 utilization via direct heterogeneous electrochemical reduction. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 1, 3451–3458.
2) C.W. Li, M.W. Kanan, (2012). CO2 reduction at low overpotential on Cu electrodes resulting from the reduction of thick Cu2O films. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 134, 7231–7234.
3) D. Raciti, K.J. Livi, C. Wang, (2015). Highly dense Cu nanowires for low-overpotential CO2 reduction. Nano Lett. 15, 6829–6835.

How good is research at University of Southampton in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 68.62

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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