Carbon dioxide capture and utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) comprises both the large‐scale capture of CO2 (via direct capture from air, ocean, or point sources), functional utilization of concentrated CO2 for the production of value‐added products, and long term sequestration. A wide range of products ranging from low to high value can be generated from CO2 through CCU, but these products come at an energy price, and not all products will achieve net negative emissions (for example, conversion of fossil CO2 to liquid fuels). Selecting optimal combinations of capture, conversion technologies and target products or geologic sequestration, and then coupling these technologies with CO2 sources and the necessary energy infrastructure is an enormous challenge that has gone largely unaddressed. In this study, we develop system‐wide strategies for CCUS technologies that can offer negative emissions at meaningful scales. We apply techno‐economic analysis (TEA) and life cycle assessment (LCA) to help identify emerging negative emissions technologies that can be implemented to capture CO2 from various dilute sources (air, ocean, other biogenic sources), as well as to understand potential technological bottlenecks in capture, utilization, and sequestration of these streams. We focus on those that are emerging from research efforts within the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (e.g., use of electrochemical methods for CO2 conversion, novel CO2 sorbents, such as metal organic frameworks, MOFs, and sequestration in basalt formations).
About the speaker
Dr. Hanna Breunig is a Research Scientist and Deputy Leader in the Sustainable Energy and Environmental Systems Department at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She holds a secondary joint appointment in the Climate and Ecosystem Science Division. Hanna specializes in systems analysis of early stage energy, water, and waste technologies. These include waste‐to‐energy/resource systems, circular economy, bioenergy, brine management, and gas (H2, CO2, CH4) capture, utilization, and storage technologies. She holds a B.Sc. in Environmental Engineering from Cornell University and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley.
Australian inorganic carbon material manufacturer CFoam (ASX: CFO) has entered into key partnerships with two US tertiary institutions based on enhancing the development of carbon products from coal.
The research and development agreements with Ohio University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are at an early stage and have the potential to create new markets and opportunities for CFoam as a raw materials provider.
Ohio University is researching a project related to coal-derived alternatives for traditional fibre-cementitious building materials.
The project has received US$500,000 (A$666,000) funding from the US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory which focuses on applied research for the clean production and use of domestic energy resources.
A pioneering technology that can permanently store carbon dioxide (CO2) in concrete blocks has gone through successful testing at the Alabama-based National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC).
CarbonBuilt and the NCCC, located next to Alabama Power’s Plant Gaston in Wilsonville, announced the completion of the multiweek test of carbon utilization and concrete production technology. The test successfully injected CO2 from the flue gas streams of the NCCC’s natural gas testing system and Plant Gaston’s coal-fired generating unit into more than 5,000 concrete blocks, where the carbon is now “stored for good,” according to a news release.
New technologies that capture and recycle carbon dioxide from industrial processes such as steel and cement making will be vital if the EU is to meet its goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and down to zero by 2050. However, while solutions are emerging, more work is needed in order to roll them out at scale, experts say.
Would you drink carbonated beverages made with carbon dioxide captured from the smokestack of a factory or power plant?
How would you feel if that captured carbon dioxide were in your child’s toys, or in the concrete under your house?
The technology to capture climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions from smokestacks, and even from the air around us, already exists; so too does the technology to use this carbon dioxide to make products like plastics, concrete, carbonated drinks and even fuel for aircraft and automobiles.
That’s why technologies that can reuse carbon dioxide to avoid fossil fuel use – or even better, lock it away in long-lived products like cement – are essential.
The key to carbon capture and utilitization’s potential is that these products have economic value. That value can give companies the incentive to deploy the technology at the global scale necessary to slow climate change.
Carbon capture technology itself isn’t new. Initially, captured carbon dioxide was used to force oil and gas out of old wells. Once emissions are captured, typically from an industrial smokestack via a complex chemical filter, they can be pumped deep underground and stored in depleted oil reservoirs or porous rock formations. That keeps the carbon dioxide from reaching the atmosphere, where it can contribute to climate change.
How do people feel about carbon dioxide-based products?
For many products made with captured carbon dioxide, success will depend on whether the public accepts them.
Two of us recently conducted one of the first large-scale studies to examine public perception of carbon dioxide-based products in the U.S. to find out. We asked over 2,000 survey participants if they would be willing to consume or use various carbon dioxide-based products, including carbonated beverages, plastic food storage containers, furniture made with foam or plastic, and shatterproof glass.
We found that most people knew little about carbon capture and use. However, 69% were open to the idea after learning how it worked and how it helped reduce the emissions contributing to climate change.
There was one exception when we asked about different types of products people might be willing to use: Fewer people – only 56% – were open to the idea of using captured carbon dioxide in carbonated beverages.
Safety was a concern for many people in the survey. One-third didn’t know if these products might pose a health risk, and others thought they would. It’s important to understand that products made with captured carbon dioxide are subject to the same safety regulations as traditional materials used in food and consumer products. This includes filtering out unwanted pollutants in the flue gas before using the carbon dioxide in carbonated beverages or plastics.
When carbon dioxide is used as a raw material, it becomes chemically stable once it is used to create a product, meaning carbon dixoide used to create plastic will not turn back into a gas on its own.
What people may not realize is that the majority of carbon dioxide currently used nationwide is already a fossil fuel byproduct from the steam-methane reforming process. This carbon dioxide is used widely for purposes that include making dry ice, performing certain medical procedures and carbonating your favorite soda.
Overall, we found that people were open to using these products, and that trend crossed all ages, levels of education and political ideologies (view the chart).
Carbon capture and use already has bipartisan support in Washington, and the Department of Energy is funding research in carbon management. Bipartisan consumer support could quickly expand its use, creating another way to keep carbon emissions out of the air.
Recently, Unilever and partners piloted replacing fossil-based ethanol with carbon dioxide-based ethanol for manufacturing laundry detergent, significantly reducing the associated ethanol emissions. Both are cost-competitive methods to capture and use carbon dioxide, and they demonstrate why carbon capture and use could be the most market-friendly way to remove carbon dioxide on a large scale.
How innovators can improve public perception
Some emerging technologies could help address the perceived risks of ingesting carbon captured from industrial emissions.
The most important steps may be educating the public about the process and the value of carbon dioxide-based products. Companies can alleviate concerns by being open about how they use carbon dioxide, why their products are safe and the benefits they hold for the climate.
You might not know it, but you’re likely washing your clothes with ingredients made from fossil fuels But soon, you’ll be able to stop and do your laundry with a detergent made from recycled carbon emissions instead. While many surfactants—a key ingredient in detergents, which creates foam and allows dirt to be washed away—are derived from petroleum, a new laundry capsule from Unilever, which initially will be available in stores in China, uses surfactants made from captured industrial emissions.
The laundry capsules, available through the brand Omo and launching in China April 22, result from a partnership between Unilever, biotech company LanzaTech, and green chemical company India Glycols. LanzaTech, which has a commercial plant running in China that turns carbon emissions from a steel mill into ethanol, has already used its carbon recycling process to turn those emissions into jet fuel and alcohol for fragrances.
The Cleanie Awards® today announced that applications are open for its 2021 awards program. Now in its fourth year, The Cleanie Awards is the leading awards program recognizing the top innovators, thinkers, leaders, and disruptors driving America’s $500 billion clean-energy sector.
The program recognizes leaders dedicating their careers to helping avert the climate crisis — the individuals and organizations building a more just, equitable, reliable, resilient, and affordable clean energy economy. A judging panel comprised of industry leaders — representing sectors as diverse as finance, generation, agriculture, utilities, and mobility — will evaluate the entrants. New in 2021, The Cleanie Awards is adding two People’s Choice categories.
Companies and individuals can vie for recognition as:
Company of the Year
Best Corporate Sustainability Strategy
Best Media Outlet (People’s Choice)
Champion in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Investment Leader of the Year
Keep the Power On
Pioneer in New Technology
Project of the Year (People’s Choice)
Woman of the Year
Also new this year, The Cleanie Awards will recognize college-level leaders in College Excellence. This award, sponsored by REpowering Schools, will honor collegiate individuals and/or groups — who are making an impact in cleantech through coursework, capstone research projects, and competitions.
REpowering Schools is a 501c3 nonprofit that unites educators, renewable energy firms, and government initiatives to help buttress STEM education and build a diverse, sustainable renewable energy workforce of tomorrow. In support of this work, The Cleanie Awards is donating a share of this year’s proceeds to REpowering Schools.
“The clean-energy and climate-tech sectors are among the fastest growing areas of the U.S. economy — generating jobs, helping build a more resilient nation, and making crucial steps toward averting our climate crisis,” said Randee Gilmore, Executive Director, The Cleanie Awards.
“These awards shine a spotlight on the best ideas and most impactful leaders of the year — the people and organizations not only making a difference today, but helping build a healthier, more just, and more prosperous tomorrow. In addition to recognizing the achievements of our partners, we are excited to celebrate the next generation of our homegrown American workforce through College Excellence. This new category recognizes the next Rising Stars in cleantech.”
Previous years’ winners include Fortune 100 enterprises, fast-growing startups, pioneering individuals, and high-impact advocates — from ENGIE North America and Nextracker, to Enel, GE Power, Clearway Energy, and Point Load Power.
Early bird applications are open from April 22 to May 1, and regular submissions will be accepted until June 20.
Visit www.thecleanieawards.com to apply to this year’s program and for additional information, such as fees, deadlines, and sponsorship opportunities.
About The Cleanie Awards®
The Cleanie Awards is the only cleantech awards program focused exclusively on honoring innovators and disruptors who are creating market-moving solutions. The program’s mission is to influence public opinion about technologies working toward a clean energy future. For more information, visit the website at www.thecleanieawards.com. Follow The Cleanie Awards on Twitter or Facebook at @CleanieAwards and LinkedIn.