Theory of Multicomponent Mass-Transport in Solvent-Filled, Ion-Conducting Membranes/Modeling Membrane-Electrode Assemblies for Electrochemical CO2 Reduction

Colloquium | February 12 | 4-6 p.m. | 775 Tan Hall

 Andrew Crothers, PhD student in the Radke/Weber Group; Philomena Weng, PhD student in the Bell/Weber Group

 Department of Chemical Engineering

The viability of many technologies for clean energy storage and conversion depends on the nature of mass-transport in ion-conducting membranes. Solvent-filled membranes are a widely-used architecture for these devices because the imbibed solvent imbues the material with desirably high conductivity. These materials are microphase separated with conductive nanoscale domains connected in a mesoscale transport network. The transport network facilitates movement of current-carrying ions along with contaminants and solvent molecules. As a result, the macroscopic transport properties of the membrane emerge out of the coupled phenomena occurring at each lengthscale. In this talk, I discuss using concentrated-solution theories of transport and thermodynamics to model these processes. Our analysis gives fundamental insights into the nature of transport in these membrane and proposes strategies for material design and device operation / The electrochemical reduction of CO2 (CO2R) to value-added products is an attractive technology for tackling the rising atmospheric CO2 levels and storing intermittent renewable energy into chemical bonds. Fundamental understanding of CO2R has progressed significantly in recent years and is critical in the development of industrial scale CO2R electrolyzers

 pollyn@berkeley.edu, 510-643-3987