Understanding the Influence of Side Reactions during Electrochemical CO2 Reduction

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The concept and necessity of an "energy transition" has become well-known as the general public acknowledges the severe consequences of climate change. As a side effect of industrial revolution, which has brought advances to modern society by burning fossil fuels, pollutants and greenhouse gases are also released to the atmosphere. As a result, the liveability of earth has dropped substantially, and there exists an urgent need to address decarbonization and energy transition. As a society, we must achieve net-zero by mid of this century to prevent major disasters from happening. One approach which can solve renewable electricity storage together with CO2 elimination issues simultaneously, has attracted considerable attention in recent years – electrochemical CO2 reduction (ECO2R). It functions to reduce the CO2 captured from point sources or air directly, to chemicals or fuels, using the electricity from renewable energy. The chemicals and fuels can be stored and transported more feasibly than electricity. Once being consumed, CO2 will be released to the atmosphere and later again captured. Thus the carbon cycle can be closed.