Skip Navigation

Microfluidic System for CO2 Reduction to Hydrocarbons in Microgravity, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

In the combined Phase I and Phase II programs Faraday and our MIT collaborators will demonstrate the feasibility of low-cost fabrication of high-efficiency, microchannel-plate reactors for the electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 to CH4. The proposed concept is founded on FARADAYIC® Through-Mask Etching of metallic (e.g., stainless steel and titanium) substrates to form suitable microchannel electrodes, and on pulse-reverse FARADAYIC® Electrodeposition of copper for uniform coating of the cathode surfaces. The electrocatalytic efficiency of the copper layer will be enhanced through the use of a literature-reported oxide-reduction process. Inclusion of a suitably large density of channels should result in substantial active area in a compact form factor, while entirely avoiding the complications of packed-bed type reactors. Faraday plans to focus development toward the ultimate use of room-temperature ionic liquids (ILs), as they afford such advantages as negligible evaporative loss, generally high CO2 solubility and low CH4 solubility, and a broad potential window of electrochemical inertness. The particular challenge of gas-liquid separations in microgravity, where buoyant effects cannot be exploited, will be addressed through a novel centripetal application of an established spiral-channel microfluidic concept. The envisioned system described in this proposal consists of three distinct unit operations: (1) an absorber which "getters" gaseous CO2 from the atmosphere using a wet room temperature IL-based electrolyte, (2) a microfluidic electroreactor which efficiently converts the CO2 to CH4 with oxygen being generated as useful by-product, and (3) a spiral-channel gas-liquid separator to remove the CH4 and O2 from the IL stream which is recycled to the absorber. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Share this Project

Organizational Responsibility

Project Management

Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Technology Areas

Light bulb

Suggest an Edit

Recommend changes and additions to this project record.