Carbon capture and storage, or CCS, is a critical technology that can help society reduce CO2 emissions from hard-to-decarbonize industries by storing them underground. In Southeast Asia alone, there’s enough potential storage capacity for 300 billion tonnes of CO2. But some technologies, many in the early stages of development, are also starting to use CO2 as a resource – one that can be utilized, not just stored.
The growth of captured emissions could lead to the development of new products based on CO2, providing eco-friendly alternatives to everyday needs in areas like agriculture and clothing, as well as the potential to utilize it for existing processes. Globally, around 230 million tonnes of CO2 are re-used every year, but demand is growing.
1. Food and beverages
Did you know that your fizzy drink, wine or even coffee may use filtered captured CO2? Decaffeinated coffee uses CO2 to remove caffeine without affecting the final taste. Captured CO2 could potentially be used to carbonate beverages like soda and beer. And it could even be used to help prevent wine from going bad or to keep packaged food fresh.
2. Clothing and accessories
You can now look good and do good. Captured CO2 could be used to make a range of clothes, sunglasses, shoes and accessories – such as bracelets and phone covers. It also has the potential to create biomaterials that could be used to replace leather, such as vegan leather alternatives.
You may be able to help reduce global emissions without even getting out of bed. It turns out your mattress might be a source for CO2 storage. Captured CO2 can be transformed into polyol, a key component in polyurethane plastics and foams. This polyurethane is a versatile material that can be turned into a range of products – from tables and chairs to lounges, mattresses and pillows.
4. Building materials
CO2 can also literally help build a better future. Captured CO2 is being used to make concrete and other building materials, like bricks and cement. CO2-cured concrete can be less expensive than traditional concrete and have better performance – while permanently storing captured CO2. Shatterproof safety glass could also utilize captured CO2.
Captured CO2 can also help feed people. One of the largest users of CO2 is the agricultural industry, where about 125 million tonnes per year of CO2 is transformed into urea, a crucial ingredient in fertilizers. With the demand for fertilizer rising, so too is the amount of CO2 the industry needs.
6. Fuel and energy
Could we power the world by reducing CO2 emissions? The fuel and energy of the future may be supported by captured CO2, which can be refined and turned into carbon-neutral fuel. Scientists have already begun to turn captured CO2 into gasoline. CO2 is also supporting the development of future fuels, such as hydrogen, as it helps enable the conversion of hydrogen into other fuels, like aviation fuel.
The pharmaceutical industry could use captured CO2 in solvent consumption, which ensures proper separation and purification of products during manufacturing, so you receive the prescribed dosage each time. Captured CO2 may also be broken down with water to make alcohol that is turned into sanitizer, with the only by-product of the process being oxygen.
As the potential applications for carbon capture technology expand, the possibilities for captured CO2 is also growing, laying the groundwork for a lower-carbon future.