High carbonate ion conductance of a robust PiperION membrane allows industrial current density and conversion in a zero-gap carbon dioxide electrolyzer cell

September 21, 2020

Versogen membranes have been implemented in technologies that can efficiently convert polluting CO2 into valuable industrial chemicals, turning waste into value. Read more in our Energy & Environmental Science article


A poly(aryl piperidinium)-based anion exchange membrane (PiperION) with high carbonate conductance is employed for CO2 electrolysis to CO in conjunction with a tailored electrolyzer cell structure. This combination results in unprecedentedly high partial current densities in zero-gap cells (jCO > 1.0 A cm−2), while maintaining high conversion (20–45%), selectivity (up to 90%) and low cell voltage (2.6–3.4 V).

Broader Context

Electrochemical reduction of CO2 is a promising waste-to-wealth approach, as it converts a greenhouse gas into high value products, utilizing renewable energy. The CO2-to-CO conversion for example, generates a product (with approx. price of 700 USD per tonne) which can be readily used in the (petro)chemical value chain. To bring such technologies to the market, however, significant development is needed in the key performance indicators, leading to viable capital and operational expenditures. Novel catalysts, electrode assemblies, and cell configurations are all necessary to achieve economically appealing performance. While the majority of the scientific community is focusing on catalyst materials and reaction mechanisms, less emphasis has been devoted to cell structures and components. In this work, we presented the implementation of a novel anion exchange membrane in a zero-gap electrolyzer cell, which resulted in record high electrochemical performance. We uncovered the factors underpinning this exceptional performance and presented design concepts for future scale-up.