N° 371-372 février-mars 2013

Carbon dioxide recycling to methanol, dimethyl ether and derived products for a sustainable future

Pagination : 78-83
Sous-thème : Une chimie durable avec le CO2 ?
© Courtesy : K.C. Tran, CEO, Carbon Recycling International, Iceland.

The “George Olah carbon dioxide to renewable methanol plant” of Carbon Recycling International in Iceland based on local geothermal energy : the first commercial carbon dioxide recycling plant operating in the world.

To reduce our dependence on diminishing non-renewable and finite fossil fuels resources and at the same time mitigate the associated CO2 emissions problem, it is time for humankind to switch from fossilized solar energy (i.e. fossil fuels) to current solar energy. We are not per se facing an energy crisis. Sunlight delivers to Earth each hour as much energy as consumed by humankind in an entire year. Rather than an energy problem we have an energy collection and storage problem.

Nature’s photosynthesis uses the Sun’s energy with chlorophyll in plants as a catalyst to recycle carbon dioxide (CO2) and water into new plant life. Mimicking Nature by capturing and recycling CO2 to methanol, dimethyl ether and derived products using any alternative energy source will provide us with a sustainable carbon source for fuels and materials well beyond the fleeting fossil fuel era. The needed CO2 can be at first collected from industrial sources but will eventually have to be captured from the atmosphere itself. Carbon dioxide thus can be chemically transformed from a detrimental greenhouse gas causing global warming into a valuable, renewable and inexhaustible carbon source.

Article en anglais. Paper in English.