Highly efficient electrochemical reforming of CH4/CO2 in a solid oxide electrolyser

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Science Advances  30 Mar 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 3, eaar5100
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar5100

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Reforming CH4 into syngas using CO2 remains a fundamental challenge due to carbon deposition and nanocatalyst instability. We, for the first time, demonstrate highly efficient electrochemical reforming of CH4/CO2 to produce syngas in a solid oxide electrolyser with CO2 electrolysis in the cathode and CH4 oxidation in the anode. In situ exsolution of an anchored metal/oxide interface on perovskite electrode delivers remarkably enhanced coking resistance and catalyst stability. In situ Fourier transform infrared characterizations combined with first principle calculations disclose the interface activation of CO2 at a transition state between a CO2 molecule and a carbonate ion. Carbon removal at the interfaces is highly favorable with electrochemically provided oxygen species, even in the presence of H2 or H2O. This novel strategy provides optimal performance with no obvious degradation after 300 hours of high-temperature operation and 10 redox cycles, suggesting a reliable process for conversion of CH4 into syngas using CO2.

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