Design and fabrication of nanocomposite-based electrode for electrocatalytic conversion of carbon dioxide to hydrocarbons



Carbon dioxide reached an alarming level in atmosphere where a major change in global climate was noticed since the beginning of the 21th century.  It is estimated that the net increase of 13,000 million tons of CO2 is added to atmosphere annually. The rising level of CO2 is already affecting the atmosphere, sea level and ecological systems. The global sea level rose 10 to 20 cm over the past century and in this century it may rise by as much as 88 cm. The current atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide at 380 ppm is 30% higher than the pre-industrial level and is expected to increase to somewhere between 800 and 1000 ppm by the year 2010.

To overcome this problem, there are several attempts made since Kyoto agreement to minimize the toxicants emission into atmosphere. One of the outcomes of this agreement is to achieve the quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments of the industrial countries in order to promote sustainable development.  This will be attained by limiting the consumption of fossils fuel in plants and automobiles and focusing on green energy utilization. Also to promote research on development and increased use of, new and renewable forms of energy, of carbon dioxide sequestration technologies and of advanced and innovative environmentally sound technologies.

As a consequence, several research areas were focused on the emission of carbon dioxide. This includes the utilization and recycling of this CO2 to produced hydrocarbons, syngas,   and/or other products such as urea, formate and oxalate. The major challenge for production of hydrocarbons from carbon dioxide is attributed to the methods that used and the operating conditions. One of the promising techniques that gained recently special interest is the electrocatalytic reduction method. This method depends on applying an electric potential across electrodes in an electrocatalytic cell, while a stream of carbon dioxide is absorbed by the electrolytes in the cell. The reduction mechanism depends on the amount of the CO2 absorbed by the electrolytes, type of the electrodes, pressure of the gas, current density and solution conditions.


Project Outcome

It is expected to develop new technology for reduction of carbon dioxide with high conversion. In addition, a patent and several publication will be obtained from this work.

Vacant position

One graduate position (doctoral or master candidate) is vacant with the following benefits:

  • Basic salary of SR 4000 (~ $1000).

  • Compensated tuition, fees and housing.