CO2 Reports & Studies

Finland VTT Believes Carbon Feedstock Will Breakthrough in Materials and Chemicals

In the carbon reuse economy, fossil carbon is left in the ground while aboveground carbon circulates without accumulating to the atmosphere. Forests act as both carbon sinks and an important source of carbon. In addition to this, carbon is captured from industrial emissions and eventually from the air, too. Our aim is that globally by 2040, three gigatons of carbon dioxide a year will be converted into fuels, chemicals, materials and food.

This document is based on the vision described above. The authors envision that carbon capture and utilisation will be one of the most important tools in helping to achieve the climate change mitigation targets determined by the Paris Agreement.

However, this requires simultaneous business drivers for products manufactured from carbon dioxide. We point out some feasible pathways from carbon dioxide to products and also some barriers that still exist to the large-scale adoption of the carbon reuse economy. We believe that these barriers must be overcome, and thus propose a solution for each of them.

We also discuss the pros and cons of different product options in the carbon reuse economy. Fuels are large-volume products and thus enable large volumes of carbon dioxide to be absorbed. However, the commercialisation of low-value fuels can be more challenging compared to higher-value products.

High-value materials produced from carbon dioxide may also provide an option to keep carbon dioxide out of circulation for decades. Even though in the best-case scenario carbon capture and utilisation can be carbon neutral, this longer product lifecycle might provide an additional way of slowing the carbon flux to the atmosphere during the critical period covered by the Paris Agreement targets (2020– 2050).

In this document we propose a timeline for the commercialisation of carbon reuse economy products based on their values and volumes.

The carbon reuse economy is inextricably linked to energy and therefore energy policies. Low carbon energy is an essential enabler for carbon reuse economy.

Energy is always needed to produce value-added products from carbon dioxide, and very often these processes consume significant amounts of energy. Electrification, either direct or indirect, is needed to fulfil the targets of the Paris Agreement. It is also clear that political actions are required to promote the transformation of our energy systems.

This document has been developed in a working group comprising VTT’s top experts in the field of the carbon reuse economy. In addition, internal and external workshops have been organised where many other knowledgeable experts have provided their input. The authors would like to thank all the contributors for their time and dedication.

Download the report

Carbon Reuse Economy Report by VTT

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