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Carbon-neutral production of energy and high-value chemicals


Contact: simelys.hernandez@polito.it


Overarching goal : The EU-funded SunCoChem project will produce a competitive and integrated solution to reduce the industrial CO2 emissions to the atmosphere by developing a tandem and self-biased photoelectrocatalytic reactor that will use just sunlight, water and CO2 to produce high-value chemicals.

Technology class: Photo(electro)chemical CO2 conversion.

Feedstock: CO2, industrial wastewater (with olefins)

Product(s): oxo-products (i.e. glycolic acid - a polymer building block, valeraldehyde – a flavour ingredient, and LimoxalTM – a fragrance ingredient).

Sustainability criteria: low use of critical raw materials; use of wastewater.

Novelty/Unique Selling point: Novel concept of compact and easily scalable TPER device design to be used as artificial leaf, including:

- ANODIC CHAMBER with Smart photoelectrodes for Water oxidation to O2

- CATHODIC CHAMBER with Photo- and non-photoassisted coupled reactions: Selective PEC CO2 reduction to CO; CO-hydroformylation of OXO-products. High CO2 conversion via Ionic Liquids electrolytes. Stable & efficient MEA via a transparent bipolar membrane.

- Integrated FLUE GAS Cleaning & CO2 CAPTURE CHAMBER: CO2 capture from flue gas stream with asymmetric polysulfone membrane and CO2 concentration in Ionic Liquids.

- Use of low-cost PEROVSKITE SOLAR CELLS to boost internal photo-voltage

Bottlenecks tackled: Efficiency: > 10% of Sunlight to CO conversion efficiency & current density of 20 mA·cm2; Stability: < 5% of performance loss in 1000h of operation; Sustainability: < 50% CO2 emissions versus actual routes for oxo-products production from fossil fuels.

Starting TRL: 3 / End TRL: 5

Timeline: 48 months (2020 – 2024)

Funding type received: EU H2020 - INDUSTRIAL LEADERSHIP - Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies - Advanced materials. Grant Agreement No. 862192