Current and Emerging Electrochemical Approaches for Chemical Manufacturing

Elizabeth J. Biddinger, Paul J.A. Kenis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


R&D on electrochemical approaches for chemical manufacturing is experiencing a renaissance, the direct result of society's desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of the chemical industry, aiming to be carbon neutral by 2050. Two such processes have been performed for decades at scale: the chlor-alkali process that produces chlorine from aqueous sodium chloride, and the production of adiponitrile, an intermediate in the production nylon-6,6. Water electrolysis for hydrogen production is also being deployed now at scale. This report summarizes some of the many efforts to electrify chemical conversions, often using renewable feeds like water, CO2, and biomass-derived adducts, or waste-streams from other processes. Beyond efforts to reduce emissions, a very active research community also pursues a broad range of electro-organic conversions, some of which have major advantages over conventional reaction chemistries. Overarching challenges of implementing electrochemical manufacturing approaches are also discussed (e.g., limited familiarity with electrochemical processes in chemical engineering practice, insufficient availability of electrical power, and the variability of various renewable feeds).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-45
Number of pages5
JournalElectrochemical Society Interface
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • chemical manufacturing
  • electrochemical engineering
  • renewable energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrochemistry


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