The electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide is a very exciting and fast developing field. This process is essential for the capture, storage and conversion of CO2, which is becoming an ever more important part of a sustainable future. However, at present these technologies can not be considered as truly cost effective alternatives for the production of medium value chemicals. Therefore, the future of this field involves developing methods and protocols that both reduce the amount of energy required (in the form of over-potentials) as well as increase the selectivity of the products formed.
To this end, Theme 1 will focus on the screening of different solvents and electrodes to reduce the amount of over-potentials required for CO2 reduction. The main focus will involve the development of ionic solvents capable of efficiently lowering the energy barriers associate with CO2 reduction at the same time as improving the selectivity towards certain products. Initially, water is envisioned as the proton source for these products; although, close collaboration between the different themes of this project means that other hydrogen sources my be considered.
Further cross-over between themes will be seen in the investigation of possible photoactive electrodes for the electrochemical reduction of CO2 using ionic liquids.