Members News

20.11.2013CO2 is ready to go as a fuel and chemical feedstock
At the beginning of October 2013, 140 leading minds from the world of CCU (carbon capture & utilization) met for three days in Essen at Europe’s largest conference on “CO2 as chemical feedstock – a challenge for sustainable chemistry”. By late November all 35 presentations will be available to download, giving a complete overview of these exciting new technologies.

While carbon dioxide is generally seen as a “climate killer”, which should best be avoided or stored underground (carbon capture and sequestration), a growing number of scientists and engineers are considering how this virtually limitless source of carbon can be used or recycled as a fuel or chemical feedstock. CO2 is an inert molecule that must first be broken down again using energy to make it usable, a process that chemists call “reduction”. If renewable energy is used, this opens up a variety of interesting and environmentally friendly possibilities for storing energy, producing methane and liquid fuels, or making chemicals and plastics. What sounds like a fairytale is well on the way to becoming a reality. Many demonstration facilities and the first commercial plants are already up and running, most of them in Germany.

These feature various key technologies to utilise CO2 as a source of materials and energy. Some of these are “artificial photosynthesis” technologies such as electrolysis and catalytic water splitting, imitating plants which produce biomass in the form of sugar, starch, oils and cellulose from carbon dioxide, water and sunlight. Scientists and engineers would like to develop artificial means of running this process more efficiently and independently of biomass. However, biotechnological techniques also exist to reduce CO2 and make it available for use with the help of special bacteria, for instance. Lastly, CO2 can be directly incorporated into polymers and chemicals without any need for splitting.

The full press release is available at: