SBIR Phase I: Carbon Neutral Renewable Liquid Hydrocarbon Fuel Production System

Period of Performance: 01/01/2010 - 12/31/2010

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sustainable Innovations, LLC
111 Roberts Street Suite J
East Hartford, CT 06108
Principal Investigator

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project seeks to improve the conversion efficiency of an electrochemical process that produces liquid organic fuels from carbon dioxide using a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) cell. The work leverages extensive university research wherein fundamental studies have demonstrated the conversion of CO2 to various organic products, but at low Faradaic efficiencies caused by poor mass transport at the cathode. Our research will target increasing the CO2 pressure, and hence its availability to support the cathode reaction, to improve these efficiencies, as well as modifying cathode materials and structures to better support the electrochemical reaction. Using a novel, high pressure PEM cell, electro-reduction studies will be conducted at pressures greater than 800 psi with a goal of achieving a Faradaic efficiency of >90% to hydrocarbons such as methanol at economically viable current densities (>500 mA/cm2). This will be achieved through careful experimentation using a high-pressure laboratory system to facilitate operation of this PEM cell. Analytical chemistry protocols will be developed and implemented to identify and quantify the mix of reaction products. From these data we will calculate the efficiency at which current, passed through the cell, is converted to desirable liquid organic products.