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Fuels and Chemicals


Bordeaux, France



David Wakerley

Co-Founder, Dioxycle

David joins Breakthrough Energy’s Innovator Fellows from Dioxycle in Bordeaux, France. With his colleagues, David has developed novel approaches to design and make carbon dioxide (CO2) electrolyzers. Dioxycle has demonstrated the performance of their device in converting CO2, water, and electricity to electrofuel precursors such as carbon monoxide and syngas.

Dioxycle’s technology provides a route to see CO2 as an asset, not a pollutant; through their process it will be possible to take CO2 and clean energy to generate valuable, renewable feedstocks, fuels, and commodities. Dioxycle’s goal is to make their custom-built CO2-converting electrolyzers as affordable and efficient as possible for as many commodities as possible to help displace fossil fuels.

Although Dioxycle is based in France, David grew up in a small town in the middle of England where life was simple and fish & chips were plentiful. He was always fascinated by new technologies and clean energy, which led him to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in chemistry at the University of Cambridge. He then left England to research CO2 reduction at both the Collège de France (Paris) and Stanford University.


What problem is Dioxycle solving? What are the practical applications of this work?
We are solving the problem faced by industrial sectors that have unavoidable carbon dioxide emissions in their processes. For these industries, we present a means to generate value from their CO2, so they can think differently about their emissions. Our technology would be placed at the end of their exhaust and up-cycle their CO2 into a feedstock, fuel, or commodity for them to either use themselves or sell for extra revenue.

What do you hope to achieve through the BE Fellows program that you would not be able to accomplish without it?
By joining the BE Fellows program, we hope to (1) join a community of highly inspiring tech and business-oriented entrepreneurs with whom we can work toward large scale decarbonization, (2) attract and recruit the best talent to join forces in our mission against climate change, and (3) have the financial security to focus our attention on the development of our technology and company.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Don’t be afraid of failure (this helped a lot when doing academic research).