In situ electrochemical conversion of CO2 in molten salts to advanced energy materials with reduced carbon emissions

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Science Advances  28 Feb 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 9, eaay9278
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay9278


Fixation of CO2 on the occasion of its generation to produce advanced energy materials has been an ideal solution to relieve global warming. We herein report a delicately designed molten salt electrolyzer using molten NaCl-CaCl2-CaO as electrolyte, soluble GeO2 as Ge feedstock, conducting substrates as cathode, and carbon as anode. A cathode-anode synergy is verified for coelectrolysis of soluble GeO2 and in situ–generated CO2 at the carbon anode to cathodic Ge nanoparticles encapsulated in carbon nanotubes (Ge@CNTs), contributing to enhanced oxygen evolution at carbon anode and hence reduced CO2 emissions. When evaluated as anode materials for lithium-ion batteries, the Ge@CNTs hybrid shows high reversible capacity, long cycle life, and excellent high-rate capability. The process contributes to metallurgy with reduced carbon emissions, in operando CO2 fixation to advanced energy materials, and upgraded conversion of carbon bulks to CNTs.

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