Why does CO2 matter?
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas, which is the main cause of global warming. High concentration levels of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere can negatively affect the climate and result in the so-called human-induced climate change. What is often neglected is that CO2 in small quantities is harmless. In fact, it plays an essential role in storing the heat from the sun and preserving our planet’s temperature in normal levels. Thus, the main problem is human activity, which emits billions of tons of CO2 annually from fossil fuel combustion. Worldwide emissions of CO2 from burning fossil fuels total about 33 billion tonnes (Gt) per year.
Reducing emissions with carbon capture and utilization (CCU)
There is a limited time left until the effects of climate change are irreversible. This has brought technologies like CCU (carbon capture and utilization) and CCS (carbon capture and storage) into the spotlight. The first captures CO2 and reuses it for better alternatives than just emitting it to the atmosphere; the second stores it in an underground geological formation. Whilst relying entirely on zero carbon solutions and renewable energy is one way to balance out the excess CO2 in the atmosphere, it is almost impossible for the green transition to take place fast enough to achieve the desired outcome. Carbon capture appears to be an integral part for humanity to meet the global net zero targets. However, there is a variety of these technologies out there – many of them apparently do the trick but do not really have long-standing effects.
The CO2Carbon project is based on a carbon capture technology called the Molten Salt Carbon Capture and Electrochemical Transformation (MSCC-ET) for the production of sustainable carbon nanomaterials and graphite
The innovative approach gives heavy industry emitters the opportunity to decarbonize their production, enabling the utilization of CO2 as a feedstock for the production of carbon materials. In reality, the benefit is twofold: the reduction of CO2 emissions and the sustainable production of carbon nanomaterials and graphite for the green battery industry.
Electrochemical transformation of CO2 into carbon material for green batteries
The MSCC-ET method has been known since the ‘60s. The founders of UP Catalyst turned this idea from a research project into a viable commercial business. The process involves three steps: (1) industrial exhaust CO2 is captured in a molten salt synthesis reactor; (2) electrochemical reactions take place on the cathode and anode; (3) separation of CO2 molecules into carbon and oxygen.
The innovation of the UP Catalyst technology lies in the fact that it does not use any fossil fuels or harmful chemicals and the overall environmental impact of the process is carbon negative. This is a fundamental shift from traditional graphite producing technologies that cause pollution and release enormous amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Another major difference from conventional production is that it can be set up in areas, where graphite production has not been possible before, due to lack of natural graphite reserves or refining industry.
Let’s lead the world to sustainable carbon!