There is significant interest in technologies that reduce or mitigate greenhouse gases in the atmosphere because of their contribution to climate change. In addition, concerns for energy security are linked to political, environmental, and economic factors that threaten supply of hydrocarbon sources for fuels and the petrochemical feedstock that support the production of plastics, fertilizers, and chemical supply chains. With these climate and energy security concerns, there is a need for technologies that can economically address both issues. In addition, with increased integration of renewable energy systems into the grid, there are major concerns about grid instability and the need for energy storage. Significant research is being done on both topics, but there is a need to more efficiently transmit and use energy (which is the focus of the Smart Grid initiatives) as well as store energy for future use. Electrochemical conversion of CO2 to useful products will be discussed including analyses of the energy and carbon balances required for the process, the value of the end use chemicals as energy storage media, and the energy density of the end use chemicals compared to other energy storage technologies.

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