What does “Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU)” mean and what makes the utilization of CO2 attractive? Clear answer has been given during the “7th Conference on Carbon Dioxide as Feedstock for Fuels, Chemistry and Polymers” that took place in Cologne (Germany) on the 20th and 21st of March and organized by Nova Institute. All the aspects of the use of CO2 have been explored: Concept and vision, semi-commercial implementations, political framework, sustainability and economy.
For many, CCU is still a mystery and even experts often think that its implementation will take 50 more years minimum. Speakers from the conference, but also different prestigious papers clearly explain the CCU concept and show that even the use of fossil CO2 emissions for CCU brings environmental advantages. It also showcases the first semi-commercial plants that are in operation or under construction. The CCU revolution is already well underway!
CCU stands for the capture and utilisation of carbon dioxide (CO2) as a carbon source to be used as a feedstock in the production of fuels, chemicals and polymers. The energy needed for the transformation of CO2 must stem from renewable resources to provide an environmental benefit compared to other sources of carbon. Nine out of seventeen Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations are directly addressed through CO2 utilisation in combination with renewables.
A clear example is offered from the chemical industry that can only become sustainable if it completely abandons fossil feedstocks such as crude oil, coal and natural gas and strictly uses renewable carbon as a raw material for organic chemistry. So CCU is crucial for a future sustainable chemistry.
Nowadays, renewable carbon from CCU is generally more expensive than fossil carbon. The most decisive factor for the price difference is the price at which renewable energy can be obtained for hydrogen production in the CCU process. This difference is expected to decrease in the next future.
The proposed plan of action for the reduction of the emissions and for the sustainability of different chemicals and industries in general – fully in agreement with Sotacarbo vision – is to prevent the emissions thanks to a further development of the renewables, a minimization and increasing of plants efficiency and the recycle of CO2 for producing high-value materials.
The Conference has been preceded by the General Assembly and the “2nd CO2 Value Day” of the “CO2 Value Europe”, an international association dedicated to the promotion of CO2 utilisation technologies that brings together 63 partners (from research institutes to industries), with a focus on three pillars: CO2 to chemicals, CO2 to fuels, e CO2 to construction materials. MMureddu/APettinau