To reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere we are looking at techniques that capture it from the air, and convert it into products that industry can use.
Ideally, this should be deployed around the world, however it is currently very expensive, with one company estimating that it costs $600 to capture one tonne of CO2. The CO2 captured has a low market value, even as little as $20/tonne.
To address the cost issue, Dr Enrico Andreoli and Dr Jennifer Rudd as part of the Reducing Carbon Emissions (RICE) project, alongside other researchers from Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI), are focusing on something more lucrative and more aligned to the circular economy. The team are turning carbon dioxide into commercial products using a process called electrochemical reduction. In this processes, CO2 is captured and reacted with renewable energy, turning it into products that have a higher value.
An example of product is propanol. Propanol burns a lot more cleanly than petrol and diesel – and is something we could potentially use in cars in the future.
Reduced Industrial Carbon Emissions (RICE) Operation has been part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.