April 5, Jānis Kleperis (ISSP UL) speaks at the scientific workshop of ISSP UL Doctoral School “Functional materials and nanotechnologies”.

The project is topical because it plans to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions into the atmosphere by using electricity from renewable energy sources (solar, wind, biomass) and convert the CO2 produced during electrocatalytic process at biogas reactor into an ethylene oxide, a widely sought-after raw material for plastics production.

Electrochemical reactions in an electrolyzer provide for the simultaneous conversion of CO2 in the presence of hydrogen to ethylene on the cathode and the oxidation of water to hydrogen peroxide on the anode (200% electrocatalysis). The two intermediates are then separated from the cathode and anode chambers, transported to a chemical reactor and converted therein into ethylene oxide, which will be collected and handed over to the chemical industry companies. All chemical reactions take place at normal temperatures and pressures, which saves energy resources compared to the current production of ethylene oxide from fossil fuels (oil, gas). The project involves 10 partners from 6 countries, including the ISSP UL from Latvia, and the coordinator is the Fraunhofer Institute for Interphase Engineering and Biotechnology IGB from Straubing (Germany).

The ISSP UL has several tasks in the project:

(a) to provide an alternative cathode structure of recycled graphite multilayer graphene plates in which the catalyst metal (copper or its oxide) is introduced for the electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 to ethylene;

(b) theoretical calculations of the first principles of copper-cluster modified graphene to find energy for reforming CO2 into ethylene in the presence of water and hydrogen ions;

(c) to design innovative electrochemical half-cell for CO2 reforming gasiform product monitoring by FTIR or mass spectroscopy methods;

(d) to synthesize SPEEK polymer composites with zirconium oxide nanoparticles and imidazolium compound ionic liquid molecules to form a membrane compatible with catalyst materials and promoting CO2 adsorption on the electrode.


Scientists from various departments led by Jānis Kleperis, Jurijs Žukovkis and Guntars Vaivars work together to carry out this task.