A July 2018 report from Frontiers in Chemistry had this to say: “The recent development and market introduction of a new type of alkaline stable imidazole-based anion exchange membrane and related ionomers by Dioxide Materials is enabling the advancement of new and improved electrochemical processes which can operate at commercially viable operating voltages, current efficiencies, and current densities.” In other words, their patented technology and alkaline company products are about to change the world.
To the uninformed, that paragraph might not contain a lot of revelations or compelling text, but there is something very unique and special in what this company has been focusing on for the past 8 yearshuge in it. What? The term “commercially viable”. The team at Dioxide Materials are true frontiers in chemistry. Up uUntil now, CO2 recycling did not successfully exist at now alkaline company products from any brand or manufacturer could be used at the industrial or commercial levels. Dioxide Materials’ breakthrough technology has enabled recycling of CO2 to be economically viable today because the patented technology uses 50% less energy to break the CO2 molecule. The technology was a result of a scientific breakthrough widely published in Science in 2011: the discovery of the first co-catalyst that can activate CO2 at over 80% energy efficiency and 99% selectivity. The basic premise of this technology is the electrochemical reduction of CO2 at the lowest energy cost. This was substantial because it meant that there was, as yet, no solution to the epic amounts of CO2 still being generated by any number of companies, and each causing massive environmental problems.
This means that they have met demands on several fronts. What Dioxide Materials has done is allow for the “conversion of CO2 to formic acid (HCOOH), CO2 to carbon monoxide (CO), and alkaline water electrolysis, generating hydrogen at high current densities at low voltages without the need for any precious metal electrocatalysts”. Eliminating costly aspects of the process and creating a much longer lifespan for the system is also a great change.
Not only did they create a commercially viable solution, but one that helps recycle CO2 in to remarkably value feed stocks such as liquid fuels and chemicals. CO2 can be recycled into valuable hydrocarbon products such as methanol, synthetic ethanol and renewable fuels in an effort to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions while monetizing what would otherwise be a waste gas. By recycling CO2, companies can help reduce their carbon footprint.
What Dioxide Materials has done is allow for the “conversion of CO2 to formic acid (HCOOH), CO2 to carbon monoxide (CO), and alkaline water electrolysis, generating hydrogen at high current densities at low voltages without the need for any precious metal electrocatalysts”. Eliminating costly aspects of the process and creating a much longer lifespan for the system is also a great change.
Though the way the system works is a three-part process, it is the third part in which their alkaline company products shine. It is here that their design far outshines that of the more familiar PEM polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolyzers. Long the stable of CO2 recycling, they demand precious metal catalysts and provide far lower lifetimes. However, tThe Dioxide Materials alkaline water electrolysis cell process features their patented alkaline stable anion exchange membrane which has proven to deliver “stable cell operation in 1 M KOH electrolyte solutions at current densities of 1 A/cm2 at about 1.90 V. The cell has demonstrated operation for thousands of hours, showing a voltage increase in time of only 5 μV/h.”
This means a carbon-neutral, sustainable economy is becoming more and more of a reality. It also means that renewable energy supplies will no longer go to waste and have to be curtailed, and that a global dependence on fossil fuels can finally come to an end. Dioxide Materials is offering the tools to potentially treat millions of tons of CO2 annually. By electrochemically converting CO2 to carbon monoxide and combining it with hydrogen from water and utilizing solar or wind energy sources, this company is paving a clear path to a sustainable hydrocarbon future.
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