Incorporating Record-Breaking Catalysts in Electrospun Bipolar Membranes for Low-Cost Carbon Capture via Salt Splitting

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OPEN 2021
Golden, Colorado
Project Term:
09/30/2022 - 09/30/2025

Technology Description:

Coupled acid and base formation is a key part of the DAC and DOC cycle regeneration step. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will dramatically reduce acid/base production costs by developing advanced electrodialysis systems to split salt to enable electrochemical sorbent regeneration in contrast to the high-temperature, natural-gas-fired calcination step used today. NREL and its partners aim to improve the performance, durability, and manufacturability of bipolar membranes (BPMs)—critical components of electrodialysis devices—using three-dimensional interfaces and new catalysts that speed up the dissociation of water molecules into acid and base. The BPMs will be produced on roll-to-roll manufacturing equipment at near commercial scale. The electrodialysis devices will operate at ten times the rate and greater energy efficiency than current technology. Driving electrodialysis with carbon-free electricity for DAC/DOC enables scalable environmental CO2 capture and could significantly reduce DAC/DOC operating costs.

Potential Impact:

If successful, this project will produce mass-manufacturable bipolar membranes incorporating highly efficient catalysts and advanced 3D interfaces with unrivaled performance and durability for DAC and DOC.


The production of BPMs and electrodialysis stacks by U.S.-based companies will ensure the U.S. maintains a technological lead in developing and deploying advanced carbon capture technologies.


After project completion, BPM production will be scaled to produce ~680 stacks per year. Their combined CO2 mitigation capacity would exceed 12 Mt/y; production for 8 years would mitigate >1 Gt/y of CO2.


The new system’s improved design, process improvement, economies of scale, and labor efficiency are projected to result in a 30% cost reduction over 10 years. Large savings are expected from using low-cost renewable electricity generation.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Philseok Kim
Project Contact:
Todd Deutsch
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Carbon Engineering
Electrosynthesis Company, Inc.
eSpin Technologies
University of Oregon

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