Symmetrical fuel-cell design simplifies CO2 conversion
By Mary Page Bailey |
A new carbon-utilization technology developed by SeeO2 Energy Inc. (Calgary, Alta., Canada; www.seeo2energy.com) takes advantage of thermodynamics in a high-temperature electrolyzer to efficiently convert carbon dioxide into CO and O2 with 100% selectivity. Based on the principle of a reversible solid-oxide fuel cell, the technology employs a perovskite-based catalyst that can withstand not only high temperatures and impurities, such as sulfur, without coking or decomposition, but also enables symmetrical operation on both sides of the electrochemical cell, explains Beatriz Molero Sanchez, SeeO2 co-founder and chief technology officer. “Normally, there would be one material for the electrode on each side of the cell. Our catalyst allows us to have a symmetrical design to make the fabrication process easier and less expensive,” says Molero Sanchez. Beyond CO2, SeeO2’s cell can also electrolyze water, and can co-electrolyze water and CO2 into syngas and O2.
For scaleup purposes, however, the company is focusing on processing CO2 streams — the technology has demonstrated effectiveness with high-purity CO2, as well as streams with just 30% CO2 content. Operating at high temperatures avoids some of the disadvantages of other CO2…