The utilisation of carbon dioxide in different production processes is known as “Carbon Capture and Utilisation” (CCU) or “Carbon Dioxide Utilisation” (CDU). These terms refer to technologies and processes that utilise carbon dioxide either directly or following conversion in the production of various materials and fuels (see circle chart below). Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) processes entail the capture and compression of carbon dioxide, its transportation (if necessary) and functional utilisation.
While the process by which carbon dioxide is captured from industrial emissions is similar, CCU technologies differ fundamentally from so-called “Carbon Capture and Storage” (CCS) technologies. The latter technology aims to store carbon dioxide permanently underground, whereas CCU seeks to utilise carbon dioxide emissions as an alternative source of carbon with a view to closing industrial carbon cycles.
As carbon dioxide is a relatively inert molecule, energy inputs are usually required if it is to play a role in chemical reactions for the development of materials with a higher energetic value. Additionally, chemical catalysts can be employed to develop more energy-efficient processes. Catalysis research is accordingly crucial to the development of successful CCU technologies.
IASS, Mario Mensch