Multi-Physics Modeling of Electrochemical Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Formic Acid

Wednesday, 8 October 2014: 10:40
Expo Center, 1st Floor, Universal 6 (Moon Palace Resort)
S. Jain, C. Georgopoulou, A. Agarwal (DNVGL), E. Rode, N. Sridhar (Det Norske Veritas (USA), Inc.), and N. Kakalis (DNVGL)
Electrochemical conversion of CO2, a common greenhouse gas to formic acid, methanol, ethylene, and syngas is being increasingly pursued as a means for CO2 recycle to value added products employing renewable energy and also for energy storage.  The authors have been actively involved in advancement of the technology for selective conversion of CO2 to formic acid. Special emphasis of this research is on process modifications for techno-economic feasibility which is imperative for future commercialization. Hence, multi-scale modeling is pursued to aid the experimental design. The reactor design, the catalyst and electrode structure for efficient, scale up of this process requires a comprehensive formulation of the multi-scale and multi-physics process phenomena, including aqueous transportation, membrane transportation, multiphase flow, dispersion, ion migration and surface reactions. This work presents a modeling and numerical simulation approach for understanding the CO2 conversion process to formic acid and model validation. A phenomenological process model of the CO2 conversion process is developed to simulate the process behavior under steady state and transient operating conditions, allowing to study the complex system phenomena and estimate scale-up performance. An approach for calibrating the model input data for such systems from the experimental data is illustrated. This type of calibrating approach could also be applicable to other similar electrochemical systems.