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Converting Captured CO2 Directly into Fuels

Speaker(s) / Presenter(s):
Dr. Curtis P. Berlinguette

Bio: Curtis P. Berlinguette is a Professor of Chemistry and Chemical & Biological Engineering at the University of British Columbia. He is also a CIFAR Program Co-Director and a Principal Investigator at the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute (SBQMI), and the CEO of Miru Smart Technologies.

Prof. Berlinguette leads a large, interdisciplinary team seeking ways to discover and scale disruptive clean energy materials. His academic group has advanced a range of clean energy applications including CO2 utilization, next-generation solar cells, and self-driving labs. Prof. Berlinguette also likes to work on high-risk, high-impact clean energy projects like cold fusion. He has authored more than 100 scientific articles and 20 patent applications, and has participated in over 190 invited lectures at leading universities and international conferences. Prof. Berlinguette has been recognized with several awards, including an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and an NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship.

Abstract: The electrochemical conversion of CO2 by the CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR) is a promising strategy that enables renewable energy to be stored in carbon chemicals and fuels using atmospheric or emitted CO2. Pilot-scale electrolyzers utilizing gaseous CO2 feedstocks can mediate high rates of CO2RR, however, this approach relies on several complex and energy-intensive steps required to produce purified, high-pressure CO2 from carbon capture. This presentation will focus on the direct conversion of aqueous carbon capture solutions (i.e., those rich in bicarbonate anions) into useful chemicals (i.e., CO) over extended periods of time. I will show how to design an electrolyzer that converts liquid bicarbonate feedstocks into carbon products at comparable rates and greater efficiencies than reactors relying on pressurized CO2. Our work demonstrates bicarbonate electrolysis as a practical strategy for storing renewable energy in carbon chemicals while bypassing CO2 separation and pressurization processes in upstream CO2 capture.

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