Strategies for CO2 electroreduction in cation exchange membrane electrode assembly

Jaeyong Park, Young jin Ko, Chulwan Lim, Hyunchul Kim, Byoung Koun Min, Kwan Young Lee, Jai Hyun Koh, Hyung Suk Oh, Woong Hee Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


For a CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR), cation-exchange membrane (CEM)-based membrane electrode assembly (MEA) electrolyzers are among the most commercially viable systems; however, the acidic environment in these electrolyzers lowers the CO2RR selectivity. Herein, we outline broad methods for enhancing the performance of CEM MEA electrolyzers by providing an alkaline environment for the cathode. An appropriate amount of anion exchange ionomer, high-alkali cation concentration, and thick catalyst layer with carbon increase the pH gradient for neutralization and minimize the neutralization boundary layer, thus turning most of the catalyst layer into an alkaline environment with high CO2RR selectivity. To take advantage of cation effects, local cation concentrations must be controlled to avoid losing energy efficiency due to high membrane resistance of large cations. Furthermore, the operating conditions of the MEA electrolyzer influence cation concentration. Our study provides various insights into facilitating the development of CEM CO2 MEA electrolyzers for practical application.

Original languageEnglish
Article number139826
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Feb 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) institutional program and “Carbon to X Project” (Project No. 2020M3H7A1098229) through the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT, Republic of Korea. This research was also supported by the National Research Council of Science & Technology (NST) grant by the Korean government (MSIT) (No. CAP21011-100) and National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIT) (NRF-2021R1A2C2093467).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • CO reduction reaction (CORR)
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Cation Exchange Membrane (CEM)
  • Cation effect
  • Cross over

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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