Business of Carbon dioxide

As per a new study, carbon dioxide can be used to produce fuels on a commercial basis.

Business of Carbon dioxide
Carbon Emission
Business of Carbon dioxide

Business of Carbon dioxide


Turning trash into an asset can make one happy. If it gives money in exchange than it is adorable. It can also happen in the case of carbon dioxide. Recent research by scientists from UCLA, the University of Oxford and five other institutions shows that captured carbon dioxide can be turned into commercial products. It can be a raw material to produce fuels and construction materials. 

If this happens, the greenhouse gas emission rate can be reduced to a great extent. 

The results of the research were published in the journal “Nature”. According to the research, there are 10 different ways to use carbon dioxide. It is a great achievement to establish it as a potential source of energy. It can be used as fuels and chemicals, plastics, building materials, soil management, and forestry. The subject of this study was to find out the processes to use the carbon dioxide that is produced from burnt fossil fuels and the huge amount of them gathered in the atmosphere from from the industries. 

The next step of this research is to consider the processes that produce carbon dioxide biologically. Photosynthesis is given the highest priority in this regard. 

The result of the experiment shows that the utilization pathways can use around 0.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide per year on average. This big amount of carbon dioxide fades away in the atmosphere (a gigatonne is 1 billion tonnes). 

In the top case scenario, researchers see more than 10 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide are being used a year. They estimate the cost of under $100 for a tonne of carbon dioxide. The potential scales and costs varied from sector to sector. 

"The analysis we presented makes clear that carbon dioxide utilization can be part of the solution to combat climate change, but only if those with the power to make decisions at every level of government and finance commit to changing policies and providing market incentives across multiple sectors," said Emily Carter, a co-author of the paper. "The urgency is huge and we have little time left to effect change."

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has decided to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over the rest of the 21st century. For doing this, we need to reduce 100 to 1,000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The rate of current fossil carbon dioxide emissions is increasing 1% annually. This is the main reason behind the highest record of 37 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018.


Cameron Hepburn is the director of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and Environment. He is a co-author of this study. He remarks, "Greenhouse gas removal is essential to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and stabilize the climate. We haven't reduced our emissions fast enough, so now we also need to start pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Governments and corporations are moving on this, but not quickly enough. The promise of carbon dioxide utilization is that it could act as an incentive for carbon dioxide removal and could reduce emissions by displacing fossil fuels."

As the technologies are new, mitigation strategies are needed to analyze their overall impact on the climate. Some of them are pretty attractive to fit with as a good business model. So, the good ones are getting popularity and adopted quite easily. For instance, using carbon dioxide as a feedstock has gained fame for its profitability and environment-friendly production process. It is better than using conventional hydrocarbons. It is capable of displacing up to three times as much carbon dioxide as it uses.

There are some co-benefits of using carbon-dioxide biologically. It is an alternative choice during the global decarbonization process. In this regard, we may give the example of the carbon dioxide that we use to produce fuels. It has such a great role in the processes where decarbonization is harder like in aviation. 

"I would start by incentivizing the most obvious solutions -- most of which already exist -- that can act at the gigatonne scale in agriculture, forestry, and construction," said Carter. "At the same time, I would aggressively invest in R&D across academia, industry and government labs -- much more so than is being done in the U.S., especially compared to China -- in higher-tech solutions to capture and convert carbon dioxide to useful products that can be developed alongside solutions that already exist in agriculture, forestry and construction."