Sustainable conversion of carbon dioxide into diverse hydrocarbon fuels via molten salt electrolysis

Ossama Al-Juboori, Farooq Sher, Saba Rahman, Tahir Rasheed, George Z. Chen

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
109 Downloads (Pure)


In recent decades, the unlimited use of fossil fuels mostly for power generation has emitted a huge amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which in return has led to global warming. Here we use green technology, the molten salt electrochemical system comprising of titanium and mild steel as a cathode with graphite anode whereas molten carbonate (Li2CO3-Na2CO3-K2CO3; 43.5:31.5:25 mol%), hydroxide (LiOH-NaOH; 27; 73 and KOH-NaOH; 50:50 mol %) and chlorides (KCl-LiCl; 41-59 mol%) salts as electrolytes This study investigates the effect of temperature, feed gas ratio CO2/H2Oand use of different cathode materials on hydrocarbon product along with current efficiencies. Gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy have been applied to analyze the gas products. According to GC results, more specific results in terms of high molecular weight and long chain hydrocarbons were obtained by using titanium cathodic material rather than mild steel. The results revealed that among all the electrolytes, molten carbonates at 1.5V and 425˚C produced higher hydrocarbons as C7H16 while all other produced CH4. The optimum conditions for hydrocarbon formation and higher current efficiencies in case of molten carbonates were found to be 500oC under a molar ratio of CO2/H2O of 15.6. However, the current efficiencies do not change on increasing the temperature from 425 to 500oCand is maintained at 99% under a molar ratio of CO2/H2O of 15.6. The total current efficiency of the entire cathodic product reduced clearly from 95 to 79% by increasing the temperature under a CO2/H2O ratio of 9.2 due to the reduction of hydrocarbon generation in this case, despite the formation of C7H16. Therefore, due to its fast electrolytic conversion rate and low cost (no use of catalyst) the practice of molten salts could be an encouraging and promising technology for future investigation for hydrocarbon fuel formation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19178-19188
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
Issue number51
Early online date11 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2020


  • CO2 utilisation
  • Electrochemical conversion
  • Hydrocarbon fuels and CO2/H2O
  • Molten salts electrolysis
  • Renewable energy


Dive into the research topics of 'Sustainable conversion of carbon dioxide into diverse hydrocarbon fuels via molten salt electrolysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this