Evaluation of novel ZnO–Ag cathode for CO2 electroreduction in solid oxide electrolyser

Saheli Biswas, Aniruddha P. Kulkarni, Aaron Seeber, Mark Greaves, Sarbjit Giddey, Sankar Bhattacharya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


CO2 and steam/CO2 electroreduction to CO and methane in solid oxide electrolytic cells (SOEC) has gained major attention in the past few years. This work evaluates, for the very first time, the performance of two different ZnO–Ag cathodes: one where ZnO nanopowder was mixed with Ag powder for preparing the cathode ink (ZnOmix–Ag cathode) and the other one where Ag cathode was infiltrated with a zinc nitrate solution (ZnOinf –Ag cathode). ZnOmix–Ag cathode had a better distribution of ZnO particles throughout the cathode, resulting in almost double CO generation while electrolysing both dry CO2 and H2/CO2 (4:1 v/v). A maximum overall CO2 conversion of 48% (in H2/CO2) at 1.7 V and 700 °C clearly indicated that as low as 5 wt% zinc loading is capable of CO2 electroreduction. It was further revealed that for ZnOinf –Ag cathode, most of CO generation took place through RWGS reaction, but for ZnOmix–Ag cathode, it was the synergistic effect of both RWGS reaction and CO2 electrolysis. Although ZnOinf –Ag cathode produced trace amount of methane at higher voltages, with ZnOmix–Ag cathode, there was absolutely no methane. This seems to be due to strong electronic interaction between Zn and Ag that might have suppressed the catalytic activity of the cathode towards methanation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695–707
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Solid State Electrochemistry
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • CO electroreduction
  • ZnO distribution
  • ZnO–Ag cathode
  • Zn–Ag intermetallic phase

Cite this