Challenge area: Revolutionizing chlorate production

FaradPower Inc. aims to revolutionize chlorate production by using a metal-free electrochemical process. This is achieved by using a boron-doped carbon electrode as the anode and a nitrogen-doped carbon as the cathode in the cell.

The metal-free electrodes allow for the use of dilute hydrochloric acid as the electrolyte, which is obtained as a byproduct of many existing manufacturing processes of vinyl chloride monomers, chlorofluorocarbons, and isocyanates.

They propose to replace the hydrogen evolution reaction at the cathode with an oxygen reduction reaction. This will significantly reduce the cell voltage and drastically reduce the consumption of electrical energy, the source of up to 70 % of the overall production costs.

They also propose the use of a NafionĀ® membrane (~0.025 mm thickness) to separate the electrodes in the cell; this will significantly reduce the electrode gap in existing cells (2-4 mm) and the overall IR drop of the cell. The use of NafionĀ® also eliminates the need for adding chromate in the electrolyte to prevent the unwanted side reactions from the migration of electrolysis products.

Finally, they propose to separate the chemical oxidation from the electrochemical chlorine production. This will allow the use of a room temperature electrolysis process and thus a more controlled and efficient chemical oxidation process can be developed for chlorate production.