S. E. Jerng and B. M. Gallant
[publisher link]iScience 2022, 25, 7, 104558
CO2 capture and its electrochemical conversion have historically developed as two distinct technologies and scientific fields. Each process possesses unique energy penalties, inefficiencies, and costs, which accrue along the mitigation pathway from emissions to product. Recently, the concept of integrating CO2 capture and electrochemical conversion, or “electrochemically reactive capture,” has aroused attention following early laboratory-scale proofs-of-concept. However, the integration of the two processes introduces new complexities at a basic science and engineering level, many of which have yet to be clearly defined. The key parameters to guide reaction, electrolyte, electrode, and system design would, therefore, benefit from delineation. To begin this effort, this perspective outlines several crucial physicochemical and electrochemical considerations, where we argue that the absence of basic knowledge leaves the field of designing metaphorically in the dark. The considerations make clear that there is ample need for fundamental science that can better inform design, following which the potential impacts of integration can be rigorously assessed beyond what is possible at present.