A CONSORTIUM focussed on using captured CO2 as a feedstock for plastics production has announced it is seeking industrial partners to bring CO2-reuse processes to scale.
The EnCO2re programme has more than a dozen partners across seven countries including researchers at Imperial College London and TU Delft. The programme’s ambition is to help establish a large-scale market for the reuse of CO2 and expects plastics production will be a key first step. It estimates that the market for reused CO2 could grow more than 20 times its current size, reaching 3.7bn t/y – an amount equal to 10% of global emissions.
“Cooperation between research and industry is essential to commercialising breakthrough technologies,” said Sira Saccani, director of the programme’s Sustainable Production Systems.
The programme is already working on projects in two of the three main CO2-to-chemical conversion routes – catalysis and electrochemistry – and will add projects covering the biological route next year.
Its research on catalysis and electrochemistry technologies are at various stages of readiness, ranging from designing and testing catalysts to convert CO2 to CO using renewable electricity, through to advanced projects that are in the stage of validating CO2-containing polymers ahead of market launch.
Underpinning all the projects is a peer-reviewed examination of the life-cycle environmental impacts of CO2 re-use.
The programme is led by EU-funded private-public partnership Climate-KIC and chemicals firm Covestro, which has form in using CO2 as a feedstock for chemicals production. Earlier this year, after decades of research, the company started commercial production of a plant that uses CO2 to replace around 20% of the oil-derived propylene oxide conventionally used to produce polyols – a precursor in the production of polyurethane foams.
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