Danielle Salvatore

Optimization of Electrolyzers for CO2 Reduction

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I decided to pursue a graduate degree because it allows me to turn my passion about learning and sustainable living into a career. The technology in clean energy isn't where it needs to be to replace fossil fuels; I feel that through my research I can work towards making a difference in something that matters very much to me!

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

UBC offers one of the best programs in Canada for clean energy research and is also located in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It was a win-win situation in my books.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

I love to enjoy beautiful BC. Snowboarding, cycling, and hiking are at the top of my list.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

My advice to new graduate students is make sure you have a good work/life balance. You don't want to burn out too early in your graduate career by spending all your time doing research, especially when a city like Vancouver has so much so offer.


Learn more about Danielle's research

My research is focused on designing and optimizing an electrolyzer that converts CO2 into a useful fuel. In the current state of technology, for industrial-scale CO2 electroreduction to produce low-carbon fuels, the major limitations seem to be rapid catalyst degradation and slow CO2 transfer to the electrode surface, both of which can be related to the reactor design. It is believed that catalyst degradation is mainly related to the material itself but also to its operating environment. Besides improving the catalyst material’s stability, improving the reactor design to optimize the operating conditions is also important for performance. Innovative designs for flow plates, gas diffusion electrodes, and electrolyte membrane-based electrochemical cells will be explored in order to reduce internal resistance, improve the reactant mass transfer process, and maintain cell stability.