ID
× COMMENTARYEDITOR'S PAGE
Dorothy_LozowskiStarting strong
Last month, the American Chemistry Council (ACC; www.americanchemistry.com) issued its…
COVER STORYIN THE NEWSNEWSFRONTSCHEMENTATOR + Show More
Chemical Engineering MagazineTesting tide power
A counter-rotating propeller technology that is being developed to harness…
BUSINESS NEWSTECHNICAL & PRACTICALFEATURE REPORTFACTS AT YOUR FINGERTIPSTECHNOLOGY PROFILEENGINEERING PRACTICEENVIRONMENTAL MANAGERYOU AND YOUR JOBEQUIPMENT & SERVICESFOCUSNEW PRODUCTS + Show More

Comment

Making ethylene by artificial photosynthesis

By Paul Grad |

A team from the National University of Singapore (www.nus.edu.sg) led by professor Boon Siang Yeo has developed a prototype device that uses artificial photosynthesis to produce ethylene using only sunlight, water and CO2, at room temperature and pressure.

The team designed a two-electrode cell and optimized cell parameters such as electrolyte and voltage. A photovoltaic cell is first used to convert solar energy to electricity, and the electricity powers the electrolyzer to produce substances from CO2 to H2O. The team used oxide-derived copper as electrocatalyst in the cathode and iridium oxide as electrocatalyst in the anode. Coupling the cell with silicon solar panels under sunlight (100 mW/cm2), the team showed that CO2 could be easily reduced to ethylene with an efficiency of 31.9%, when operating the system with a partial current density of 6.5 mA/cm2. Under these conditions, the overall photosynthetic efficiency (solar-to-ethylene) was 1.5%, but this could be increased to 2.9% by the addition of ethanol and n-propanol to the system. The introduction of insoluble chelating agents in the electrolyte improved the longevity of the cell, by capturing contaminants, such as dissolved iridium ions.

A prototype system incorporates a battery, which stores excess solar energy, thereby enabling the stable, continuous production of ethylene. The team believes its work has helped solve many problems associated with the implementation of an artificial photosynthesis system and represents a major step forward in the field of solar energy utilization.

Related Content

Chemical Engineering publishes FREE eletters that bring our original content to our readers in an easily accessible email format about once a week.
Subscribe Now
Trinseo Digitizes Control System Migration Projects to Achieve Fast ROI
Purdue University Saves $400,000 Annually with Local Vacuum Networks
Bag filter Housings/Vessels
Innovative Backwashable Media Filter
Automated Vertical Tower Filter Press

View More

Live chat by BoldChat