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Electrochemistry Spreads its Wings

By Gerald Ondrey |

New electrochemical processes are being developed to help CPI companies reduce their carbon footprint For over a century, electrochemistry has played a crucial role in the chemical process industries (CPI), and many chemicals are still produced using traditional electrochemical processes, such as chlorine and caustic (chlor-alkali process), aluminum metal (Hall-Hérout process) and more (Chem. Eng., December 2014, pp. 17–22 www.chemengonline.com/electrolyzer-technologies-green-hydrogen). More recently, there has been a renewed interest in water electrolysis for producing “green” hydrogen (Chem. Eng., September 2020; pp. 26–30) and in large-scale batteries for storing renewable energy, including redox flow technology (Chem. Eng., September 2016, pp. 14–20). Now, with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner, many producers are active in a number of projects to use electrochemistry with renewable energy and renewable feedstocks to make chemicals. Some of these new processes are now being tested at pilot scale (Figure 1). Figure 1. This pilot plant uses a membrane electrode assembly (MEA) for the production of ethane from CO2. It is said to be the world’s largest electrolyzer for producing C2 compounds[/caption]   CO2-free…
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