“Electrifying CO2 into fuels and chemicals”
Electrochemical CO2 reduction, with the energy input from renewable electricity, provides a green and alternative route for the generation of chemicals and fuels. However, its practice is currently challenged at two systematical levels: the lack of selective electrocatalysts to combat the strong completion from water reduction, and the lack of novel reactors for large-scale reaction rates and efficient product separation. In this talk, I will introduce the rational design of both catalytic materials and reactors towards practical CO2 reduction performances. By dispersing transition metals into isolated single atoms with electronic structures significantly different from their bulk counterparts, we can dramatically suppress the competing hydrogen evolution and deliver an ultra-high CO2 reduction selectivity of more than 95% under ambient conditions in water. Scaled-up synthesis and efficient reactors demonstrated the potential for practical applications. Furthermore, by designing a novel solid electrolyte reactor, we successfully demonstrated a continuous generation of pure liquid fuel solutions via CO2 reduction. This technology eliminates the product separation process required in traditional CO2 reduction electrolyzers, opening up its practical applications in the future.