Overline: Carbon Capture and Utilisation
Headline: CO2 as an Asset: Positive Attitudes to New Technologies in Germany and the UK

Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) technologies allow carbon dioxide to be converted into products such as building materials, chemicals, and fuels. That's not just good for the environment: the economy also stands to gain from this potentially worthwhile investment. A study published in the journal Energy Research & Social Science investigates perceptions of carbon utilisation technologies in Great Britain and Germany. It shows that while people in both countries rate CCU technologies as positive overall, they also differ in some respects.

Will CO2 soon be used to make building materials? Germans and Britons are all in favour of this.
Will CO2 soon be used to make building materials? Germans and Britons are all in favour of this. istock/vm

The Germans surveyed in the study expressed great confidence in consumer protection and were clearly in favour of state control of new products. Some were excited at the prospect of using products made from a greenhouse gas and protecting the climate in the process. A few British respondents, on the other hand, demanded that the potential users of CCU technologies be more transparent about their reasons for developing them and reveal their financial motives in particular. By doing so, they would gain more trust. While most of the 28 people surveyed had already heard of CCU, none of them had extensive knowledge of the new technologies.

The team of authors developed the study against the background that new technologies have tended to be perceived differently in different countries in the past. As co-author Barbara Olfe-Kräutlein from the IASS explains, “Carbon Capture and Storage technologies, which are intended to capture the CO2 emitted by power plants and permanently store it underground, met with far greater opposition in Germany than in other countries. And the risks of nuclear energy are also perceived differently in different parts of Europe. With our study, we wanted to investigate and compare perceptions of the risks presented by CCU in two different regions. This will also help us to draw conclusions about the factors that shape different attitudes to these technologies in future studies.”

The authors plan to use the results of the study to develop information materials on CCU that are tailored to different needs.

Link to the study:

Jones, C. R., Olfe-Kräutlein, B., Kaklamanou, D. (2017): Lay perceptions of Carbon Dioxide Utilisation technologies in the United Kingdom and Germany: An exploratory qualitative interview study. - Energy Research and Social Science, 34, pp. 283–293.
DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2017.09.011