Recover CO2 and reuse it as raw material
Climate change is related to carbon dioxide emissions due to human activities. Actions are needed to reduce both emissions and to recover CO2. The reduction of emissions is a consolidated process of Eco-sustainable practices for the production and manufacturing of consumer goods. On the other hand, the recovery of CO2 and its reuse as a raw material is still in the experimental phase or in the first steps. They will make concrete the principles of the circular economy if they find the way of the economy of scale.
An example is the Covestro plant in Dormagen, near Cologne in Germany, which produces polyols for polyurethane composed of 20% recovered CO2. At the heart of this idea is the vision that carbon dioxide can not only be captured but also transformed into a myriad of products: carbon for raw materials, polymers, cement, drugs, fuels.
CO2: from problem to solution
More than 100 years have passed since the first formulations and productions of PVC and just over fifty since the boom of polypropylene (PP). The spread of plastics affects all fields of human activity: from transport to agriculture, from clothing to medicine, from construction to cosmetics. Doing without plastic is impossible because it is essential to sectors vital to life and health. It is therefore necessary to make a change of perspective. Most of the substances and materials used today come from petroleum which is not unlimited. It is essential to find new sources, new polymer syntheses:
- Alternative recovered raw materials
- Raw materials from renewable sources
- Recovery of the CO2 captured from the emission sites.
Research is showing that it is technologically possible for the chemical industry to recover CO2 and use it as a carbon source for the production of polymers with high standards of quality and reliability.
As some industrial processes are difficult to decarbonise, CO2 capture and reuse can help enable a faster energy transition across the entire manufacturing sector. Result? Less greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, less use of fossil raw materials.