The field of CO2 electrolysis continues to mature and now encompasses a wide variety of disciplines bordering engineering and science. The majority of research, however, still emphasizes the 1D dimensional region between the cathode and the anode, and subsequently the development and interactions of all components contained within (gas-diffusion layer, membrane, etc.). As the trajectory of research marches towards higher current density operation (>200 mA/cm2) and larger geometric cell areas (>5 cm2), the homogeneity of reactions occurring across the catalyst's planar area now warrants additional attention from the research field. In brief, under new standard operating conditions it can no longer be assumed that activity is constant at each location on a catalyst's surface. Specifically, variations in CO2 and product concentrations, applied potential and temperature will inevitably occur throughout a device, and influence a catalyst's localized current densities and product selectivity.
In this talk, several examples of spatial variations in CO2 electrolysis systems at elevated current densities in a gas-diffusion layer system will be addressed, as will their impact on the measured performance. Shown examples are spatial variations in selectivity, the importance of proper current collection, and the direct measurement of localized electrochemical activity using a newly-developed 'thermal potentiostat' which couples infrared imaging with potentiostatic data.
Thomas (Tom) Burdyny completed his PhD from the University of Toronto (2017) followed by a brief postdoc at the Delft University of Technology. In 2019 he began his independent career at TU Delft, where his group focuses on applied and process integration aspects of electrochemical technologies, namely CO2 reduction. The lab's work takes a combined modelling and experimental approach to understand and improve all components and phenomena in the electrochemical system. Tom has been the recipient of the prestigious VENI personal grant (2019) from the Dutch government , as well as acting as the ethylene work package leader in the Horizon 2020 EU project SELECTCO2.
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