Catco2nvers Avantium Interview

“Avantium is working on the development of highly efficient and stable electrocatalysts with reduced environmental impact, suitable for use on an industrial scale” Interview with Avantium.

Mariana Paredinha, from Avantium, speaks in this interview about their main role in the CATCO2NVERS project and how they are managing the electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 to glyoxylic acid.

What is the role of AVANTIUM in CATCO2NVERS?

Avantium has a major role in CATCO2NVERS as a technology developer on the electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 to glyoxylic acid. Glyoxylic acid is an important building block for organic molecules used in aromas and cosmetics and it is also used in personal care as neutralizing agent, mainly in hair products, lotions, and creams.

We will be focusing on the co-production of bio-based glyoxylic acid from waste CO2 and ethylene glycol produced at Avantium’s Ray TechnologyTM.  This process will contribute to decreasing the dependence on fossil fuels by replacing them with bio-based feedstock.

We are responsible for several activities, from electrocatalyst development, design, and process integration to technology validation at TRL5. After validating the technology at relevant industrial conditions, the produced glyoxylic acid will be tested as an additive in cosmetic formulations by the industrial partner EVYAP.

How is Avantium managing the electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 to glyoxylic acid? What are the main challenges?

The electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 to glyoxylic acid is a multistep process line, which includes 2 reductive steps. The first step is the electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 to oxalic acid, which is followed by oxalic acid reduction to glyoxylic acid. Avantium is working on the development of highly efficient and stable electrocatalysts with reduced environmental impact, suitable for use on an industrial scale. We are also very interested in combining a valuable oxidation reaction with oxalic acid reduction, which will not only lower the power costs but will also allow for the production of glyoxylic acid on both sides of the electrochemical cell.

Our ultimate goal in CATCO2NVERS is to develop an industrially feasible process. The main challenge is to ensure that all the process steps are fully integrated. One of the greatest advantages of being part of the CATCO2NVERS consortium is that we have the opportunity of working closely with partners from different fields, which can boost technology development. Based on their expertise, HST will collaborate with us on the design and implementation of a continuous process and EMI will be in charge of the downstream processing of glyoxylic acid.     

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