Online seminar: Carbon Capture and Utilization Technologies Creating Value from the Emissions
by , Dr. Roberto Millini
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a major contributor to climate change, with total emissions amounting to 36 Gt/y. To contrast climate change, which in turn is caused by the progressive increase in the earth's average temperature, it is necessary to implement all actions aimed at reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, so as to achieve the "net-zero emissions" target well before the end of the 21st century.
These actions concern, among others, the improvement of energy efficiency, the expansion of renewable energy sources, fuel switching. Another important contribution is given by the capture of CO2 emitted by important industrial sectors (e.g. steel, cement production, chemical and refining industries, power generation) and its management through geological sequestration (CCS) or utilization (CCU). It is precisely on CCU options that attention is being focused as CO2 can be considered a valuable commodity to produce several important products and materials of common use. Indeed, new chemical pathways that involve the transformation of CO2 into fuels, chemicals and construction materials are widely studied both in academia and industry.
These transformations, however, are energy intensive as CO2 is, de facto, the "spent" form of carbon from which all the energy has been extracted. This opens up a whole series of questions relating to the actual climatic benefits that these utilization pathways can provide.
In this lecture, the main technological CCU pathways will be briefly examined, highlighting their advantages and limits and their possible contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.