AN ELECTROCHEMICAL CARBON DIOXIDE REDUCTION - OXYGEN GENERATION SYSTEM HAVING ONLY LIQUID WASTE PRODUCTS.
Phase 1 of Final rept., Apr 66-Feb 67,
IONICS INC WATERTOWN MASS
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The electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide has been investigated as a means of simplifying the disposal of carbon dioxide and hydrogen from a submarine atmospheric regeneration unit. Ejection of these materials as gases requires compression and produces a visible exhaust both of which are detection hazards. If these two gas streams could be chemically combined into simple liquid organic compounds, both hazards would be effectively eliminated. Catalytic combination has not proven feasible because of the temperatures and pressures involved. Electrochemical combination of these materials presented a desirable alternative. The investigation which comprises phase 1 of the overall problem, was undertaken to determine the chemical feasibility of the concept. The major task was selection of appropriate electrodes and operating conditions to carry out the desired electrochemical reactions. Conceptually, the cell consists of an anode at which water is electrolyzed to oxygen, a cathode at which carbon dioxide is reduced, and an electrolyte path between the two. A study of the effect of electrode potential revealed that formic acid could be reduced to methanol at a smooth tin catalyst with 100 current efficiency. The experimental work was sufficiently successful that a working unit, albeit inefficient, could be built with the present technology. However, it will be the purpose of phase 2 of this program to establish the engineering feasibility of this concept. Author
- Physical Chemistry