CO2 as a resource


Director of Bellona Europa, Jonas Helseth, welcomes the news but adds a note of caution: “CO2 capture and use (CCU) cannot be seen as a substitute for CCS as the real target is to reduce the amount of CO2 in the emissions cycle. However, these developments could help bring down costs of CO2 capture technology and infrastructure. The onus is now on ensuring that such progress can benefit development of storage as well.”

One of these companies is Liquid Light of Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, which specialises in the production of major chemicals from CO2. Liquid Light’s core technology is centered on low-energy catalytic electrochemistry to convert CO2 to chemicals, combined with hydrogenation and purification operations. By adjusting the design of their catalyst, the company can produce a range of commercially important multi-carbon chemicals. Their current focus is on the production of ethylene glycol (MEG), further being used to make a wide range of consumer products such as plastic bottles, antifreeze and polyester fibers.

“Liquid Light’s technology offers a new and cost-effective way to make everyday products from plain old carbon dioxide. This is a great way to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels while we simultaneously consume an environmental pollutant”, says Kyle Teamey, CEO of Liquid Light, in a recent press release.

Another company exploring the commercial possibilities of captured COis Dioxide Materials of Champaign, Illinois. The company currently uses CO2 to produce acetic acid, which is a common component in products like paint and glue. This has prompted a partnership with 3M, best known for having invented Post-It notes and now a multinational conglomerate producing tens of thousands of different products.

While it is unlikely that such technologies will be able to turn all captured CO2 into products, such innovations might prove to be valuable additions to traditional storage underground.