Power-to-fuels

While batteries are ideal for the storage of electricity from intermittent renewable sources on a time scale from seconds to days, an alternative energy storage technology is needed to balance seasonal variations in electricity production. A promising approach is to convert electric power into a combustible fuels that can be stored in tanks for extended periods of time and ideally be transported in pipelines.

 

Our research focuses on the electrochemical production of hydrogen from water. Besides research on (photo-/electro-)catalysts, we also developed membranes for alkaline electrolysis to avoid mixing of hydrogen and oxygen. To study newly developed materials under realistic operating conditions, we further built a lab-scale alkaline electrolyser operating at 80 °C and 60 bar.

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Fig. 1: a) Schematics of CO2 electrolysis setup. b) Scanning electron microscopy image of an electrodeposited copper catalyst for CO2 reduction. c) Analysis of reaction products. Gas phase products are identified and/or quantified by gas chromatography (GC), mass spectrometry (MS), or Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), liquid phase products by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).

 

While batteries are ideal for the storage of electricity from intermittent renewable sources on a time scale from seconds to days, an alternative energy storage technology is needed to balance seasonal variations in electricity production. A promising approach is to convert electric power into a combustible fuels that can be stored in tanks for extended periods of time and ideally be transported in pipelines.

 

Our research focuses on the electrochemical production of hydrogen from water. Besides research on (photo-/electro-)catalysts, we also developed membranes for alkaline electrolysis to avoid mixing of hydrogen and oxygen. To study newly developed materials under realistic operating conditions, we further built a lab-scale alkaline electrolyser operating at 80 °C and 60 bar.

Funding:
Swiss Federal Office of Energy, Swiss National Science Foundation, Swiss Electric, European Commission.

Prof. Ulrich F. Vogt

Prof. Ulrich F. Vogt

Group Leader Composites and Membranes

Phone: +41 58 765 4160


Selected publications:

[1] S. Ardo, D. F. Rivas, M. A. Modestino, V. Schulze Greiving, F. Abdi, E. Alarcon-Llado, V. Artero, K. E. Ayers, C. Battaglia et al, Pathways to electrochemical solar-hydrogen technologies, Energy & Environ. Science, in press, https://doi.org/10.1039/C7EE03639F.

[2] W. Ju, M. V. F. Heinz, L. Pusterla, M. Hofer, B. Fumey, R. Castiglioni, M. Pagani, C. Battaglia, U. F. Vogt, Lab-scale alkaline electrolyzer for bridging material fundamentals with realistic operation, ACS Sust, Chem. Eng., 6, 2018, 4829.

[3] J. Zeng, K. Bejtka, W. Ju, M.Castellino, A. Chiodoni, A. Sacco, M. A. Farkhondehfal, S. Hernandes, D. Rentsch, C. Battaglia, C. F. Pirri, Advanced Cu-Sn foam for selectively converting CO2 to CO in aqueous solution, Appl. Catalysis B: Environ. 236, 2018, 475.