Carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas emitted, for instance, in oil refineries – can be used as a raw material in industry. However, the process often consumes a lot of energy.
Carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas emitted, for instance, in oil refineries – can be used as a raw material in industry. However, the process often consumes a lot of energy. istock/Tanaonte

Headline: CO2 Utilisation Strategies and Society

In the fight against climate change, we need to adopt a range of different strategies to reduce anthropogenic emissions. Technologies for capturing and utilising CO2 can be part of the solution. In carbon capture and utilisation (CCU), the carbon released from fossil sources in conventional manufacturing processes is replaced with carbon dioxide (CO2). That CO2 can then be captured from industrial flue gases. Indeed, it's already technically feasible to capture CO2 directly from the air. In chemical conversion processes, the captured CO2 can be used to produce synthetic fuels or substances for the chemical and construction industries.

Many CCU technologies are at an early stage of their development. The CO2 Utilisation Strategies and Society research group focuses on the potential effects of their further development and possible real-world application. How and under what circumstances can society benefit from CCU technologies? What can these technologies contribute to the achievement of energy and environmental policy targets in Germany and the rest of Europe - and in less developed parts of the world? Is there a danger of path dependencies that perpetuate fossil-based energy infrastructure, and how can they be avoided? What sectors have a strategic interest in CCU pathways, and what cross-sectoral cooperation is necessary to achieve the targets set? How are CCU technologies perceived, and to what extent are the lessons learned from an analysis of the societal aspects of CCU technologies applicable to other sustainable technological innovations?

The interdisciplinary research group addresses these and other questions in transdisciplinary processes. Policy options and workable solutions take centre stage in an inclusive dialogue with various stakeholder groups.

Projects

CO2Min - Mineral Sequestration of CO2

The natural minerals olivine and basalt are able to bind CO2 over their entire life cycle. However, under natural conditions it can take decades for the minerals to become saturated with the greenhouse gas. How could we harness technology to accelerate the absorption process, thereby contributing to climate protection? What are the potentials and risks of this method for society?

CO2nsistent: Making TEA and LCA for CCU Comprehensible for Policymakers

Science-based guidance for the economic and environmental assessment of Carbon Capture and Utilisation technologies: In the project CO2nsistent, an international team of experts is developing and harmonising methods for the Technoeconomic Assessment (TEA) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of innovative technologies that utilise carbon dioxide that would otherwise have been emitted in industrial processes. The role of the IASS: Making such assessments applicable and comprehensible for decision-makers and policymakers.

Completed Projects

Development of standardised guidelines for the techno-economic assessment of carbon dioxide conversion processes

Research on Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) is increasingly becoming important in industry, research, and politics. The result is a greater number of new technologies, for instance to produce chemicals, fuels, and minerals. However, to date there has been no comprehensive and standardised way of assessing these technologies from a technical or economic point of view. This project aims to close that gap by developing guidelines for determining the economic feasibility of emerging CCU technologies.