Insights into zero-gap CO2 electrolysis at elevated temperatures

Carlos A. Giron Rodriguez, Nishithan C. Kani, Asger B. Moss, Bjort Oladottir Joensen, Sahil Garg, Wanyu Deng, Terry Wilson, John R. Varcoe, Ib Chorkendorff, Brian Seger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Renewable-powered CO2 electrolysis (CO2E) is a promising strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by transforming CO2 into valuable feedstocks. While recent studies in this field have focused on developing efficient catalyst materials or electrolyzer engineering, the operating temperature's effect has not been systematically examined for zero-gap electrolyzers. To examine the effects of operating temperature, a systematic investigation was conducted using zero-gap (MEA) Cu-based GDEs across a range from room temperature to 80 °C. Our results indicate that increasing the temperature improves CO2 mass transport, ionic conductivity, and water management, allowing for high catalytic activity toward CO2E. At operating temperatures greater than 50 °C, selectivity shifted substantially towards CO, with surface enhanced infrared absorption spectroscopy (SEIRAS) showing a concomitant decrease in surface CO coverage at and above this temperature. As commercial electrolyzers will operate at elevated temperatures due to ohmic heating, they may produce a significantly different product distribution than the room-temperature electrolysis prevalent in the literature. Experiments at elevated temperatures demonstrated improved results for CO2E with industrially relevant current densities (150 mA cm−2) over an extended operational period (>200 hours). Additionally, we found that the heating method strongly affects product selectivity and the electrolyzer's performance, emphasizing the need to ensure proper heating while working under these reaction systems.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEes Catalysis
Number of pages12
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


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