A Caltech Library Service

An Experimental and Economic Analysis of Electrochemical Technologies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions


Finke, Cody Enslin (2020) An Experimental and Economic Analysis of Electrochemical Technologies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/msvc-8t85.


Global warming and the related problem of water scarcity are predicted to cause widespread environmental, humanitarian, and economic challenges. New technologies may be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to prevent many of the worst consequences of climate change However, in order to be competitive in the market, new, low emissions technologies much be affordable. In this thesis I present work on building a technology to lower the cost of decentralized, electrochemical wastewater treatment technologies by improving maintenance. I also show that atomic layer deposition of TiO2 can be used to tune the catalytic activity and stability of multiple electrocatalysts for both the chlorine and oxygen evolution reactions (two of the most widely used electrochemical reactions used to make chlorine gas and in electroplating metals respectively). With more development, this phenomenon has the potential to be used to reduce the cost of many electrochemical systems. I modeled the techno-economics of a low-cost industrial hydrogen production technology and found the first process, to my knowledge, which is able to make industrially relevant quantities of hydrogen at a large scale. I conclude by urging researchers who are trying to solve environmental problems to consider both the potential for the cost of the entire technology to be competitive with existing technologies and to determine what the most effective way to reduce costs are. Finally, I propose that cogeneration of hydrogen and other chemicals may be a viable strategy to producing large quantities of inexpensive, clean hydrogen.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Electrochemistry, technoeconomic analysis, climate change, wastewater
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Geological and Planetary Sciences
Major Option:Environmental Science and Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Hoffmann, Michael R.
Group:Resnick Sustainability Institute
Thesis Committee:
  • Adkins, Jess F. (chair)
  • Hoffmann, Michael R.
  • Gray, Harry B.
  • Peters, Jonas C.
Defense Date:29 July 2019
Non-Caltech Author Email:finkec (AT)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationOPP1111246
Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationOPP1149755
Resnick Sustainability InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Vodafone Wireless Innovation ProjectUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:07132019-171515484
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription 2 publication.
Finke, Cody Enslin0000-0002-1343-1737
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:11742
Deposited By: Cody Finke
Deposited On:07 May 2020 20:54
Last Modified:17 Jun 2020 19:55

Thesis Files

PDF - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page