A new idea : Carbon Capture and Utilization

Since carbon capture and storage (CCS) doesn’t make much sense and is nowhere near being ready (we have seen it here and  there), why not capture carbon and simply use it ? To CleanTechnica :

” Rather than treating carbon dioxide as a waste, technology, energy, industrial and power industry participants, would be better served investing in researching and developing Carbon Capture & Utilization (CCU) systems.”

I think that applying the 3R to something as huge as CO2 is great idea. Indeed, using something previously seen as waste is typically sustainable. Let’s hope these applications will reach daylight soon.

As Cleantechnica notes :

“The CCU process converts it into commercially viable products such as bio-oils, chemicals, fertilizers and fuels. These could replace fossil fuel based products further reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improve waste treatment,” CLCF explains.

Among the numerous and varied applications of CCU are:

  • Using waste CO2 as a chemical feedstock for the synthesis of other chemicals;
  • Using waste CO2 as a chemical source of carbon for mineral carbonation reactions to produce construction materials; and
  • Using waste CO2 as a nutrient and CO2 source to make algae grow and supply fuels and chemicals.

Moreover, CCU can payback investments in relatively short periods of time, according to the report, entitled “Carbon Capture and Utilisation in the green economy: Using CO2 to manufacture fuel, chemicals and material.”

The hurdle for CCU at the moment is that it is still in the research and development phase.

It has not been commercialized on a large scale yet, and greater investment is required to make it a reality, the CLCF notes.

Off course, we would be better without using any fossil fuels spewing CO2 in the first place, but the transition will take decades, so why not using it beforehand ?

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