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Photoelectrochemical system design for CO2 and CH4 conversion to valuable products

Grant number: 19/21496-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2020
Effective date (End): May 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Materials and Metallurgical Engineering - Nonmetallic Materials
Principal researcher:Cauê Ribeiro de Oliveira
Grantee:Jéssica Ariane de Oliveira
Home Institution: Embrapa Instrumentação Agropecuária. Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (EMBRAPA). Ministério da Agricultura, Pecuária e Abastecimento (Brasil). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:18/01258-5 - Novel chemical catalytic and photocatalytic processes for the direct conversion of methane and CO2 to products, AP.TEM


Agribusiness is one of the main financial activities in Brazil, especially the sugar and alcohol sector. Despite the economic relevance of this industrial complex, there is an environmental concern associated to the release of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and biomethane (CH4) per year. As these gases are the main causes of the greenhouse effect, it is necessary to develop technologies and processes to minimize its emission. Photocatalytic processes may be an alternative since they can convert CO2 and CH4 into important organic molecules. The photocatalysis efficiency can be further improved by photoelectrocatalytic processes, which separate more efficiently the photogenerated charges. Although there are several studies related to photoelectrocatalysts synthesis, there are few efforts to apply these materials in photoelectrocatalytic reactors with high performance industrial design. In this context, this postdoctoral project has as main objective the development of a photoelectrocatalytic reactor for simultaneous CO2 and CH4 conversion to valuable compounds. It will be used a photoanode/photocathode system (TiO2/Cu2O) and the new reactor will be studied considering micro fluid dynamics elements and process intensification. The reactor will be operatedin potentiostatic mode and it will be analyzed different process parameters, such as flow, applied potential, and the effects of turbulence promoters, giving special attention to the mass transfer phenomena. Thus, it is expected to be established the best process parameters that provide high selectivity for more valuable products, faster photoelectrocatalysis kinetics and lower energy consumption. (AU)

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