Sarah joins Breakthrough Energy’s Innovator Fellows from Dioxycle in Bordeaux, France. With her colleagues, Sarah 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 energy-efficient and cost-effective as possible for as many commodities as possible to help displace fossil fuels.
Growing up by the sea in the Basque country, Sarah’s motivation in developing a climate technology has come from her childhood passion for whales and surfing and an intense dislike for plastic pollution. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science in mathematics, physics and chemistry from Ecole Polytechnique (France) and she completed graduate work in organic chemistry at Ecole Polytechnique and environmental economics at Université Paris-Saclay. She then earned a Master of Philosophy in chemistry from the University of Cambridge. Sarah obtained her PhD from Collège de France (Paris) after conducting research on CO2 conversion between Collège de France and Stanford University.
How will Dioxycle help us reach net zero?
Low-temperature electrolysis is a highly versatile technology that allows CO2 to be directly converted into a wide range of commodities such as carbon monoxide, ethylene, and ethanol. If powered by decarbonized electricity, it has the potential to provide a sustainable alternative to fossil-fuel derived commodities while reducing CO2 emissions.
What beliefs drive you?
My three beliefs in life are (1) that you can do anything with hard work, (2) that “decentralizing” knowledge/research in the world would be one of the most powerful peace instruments, and (3) that there is a lot of beauty in what is useless (I spent as many years studying ancient Greek as I spent studying CO2, so I try to justify it).
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The word is worth the man or the man is worth nothing — so stick to your word.
Who is your hero?
My mum, the most generous person I have ever met.
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