Carbon dioxide (CO2) is considered a core issue in climate change and international climate protection policy; it is regarded exclusively as waste, as a pollutant. As a result, technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) are much more prominent in the current political and media debate than the search for alternative solutions.
The short-sightedness of this approach is clearly illustrated by one of the main drivers of evolution, photosynthesis, which uses CO2 as a raw material and basic component for countless processes. Ambitious research projects, such as those of the IASS cluster E3, aim at developing processes in which CO2serves as an asset. Industrial breakthroughs have already been achieved using CO2 as a raw material, for example in the production of plastic (cf. the project “Dream Production” at Bayer Material Science, and projects at BASF, Evonik etc.). An advantage of CO2 processing in comparison to conventional petroleum-based production is possibly a lower energy consumption. Despite the expected economic and ecologic benefits, the topic of “Carbon Capture and Utilization” (CCU) so far receives little attention from politics and society.
The project “CO2 as an asset (CCU) – potentials & challenges for society”explores the social potential of CCU technologies from different angles, and in an interdisciplinary fashion. At the interface of science, politics, NGOs and the media, the IASS encompasses diverse perspectives und manifold expertise. Project milestones include an assessment of the economic potential of CCU technologies, and the development of parameters for successful communication of “CO2 as an asset” into society. The Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of CCU technologies and products lays an important foundation in this regard.
The results of the research program, will evaluate CCU as enabling technologies for sustainability and consequently permit a profound consultation to German and European politics and NGOs. The project is carried out in cooperation with the RWTH Aachen and Covestro.