delware environmental institute

UD's Feng Jiao wins DOE funding to produce alcohols from CO2 flue gas

Modern society’s extensive use of fossil fuels has led to unprecedented atmospheric carbon dioxide levels with widespread climate impacts. Carbon dioxide capture and sequestration is one of the technologies under investigation to mitigate CO2 emissions associated with coal-fired power plants. However, according to the University of Delaware’s Feng Jiao, large-scale CO2 sequestration poses risks to the environment from leakage. Other disadvantages include limited efficient geological repositories and high transportation and compression costs.

In contrast, the use of CO2 as a cheap carbon feedstock for the production of fuels and chemicals has a number of economic and environmental advantages.

Jiao recently received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to investigate this alternative.

The grant, “Electrochemical Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Alcohols,” was awarded through the National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Jiao explains that the proposed technology is an integrated electrolyzer system that takes flue gas from the power plant and produces multi-carbon alcohols through a two-stage electrolysis process.