Processing pollution into profit (Day 205)

Expensive carThose of you who read my blog regularly will know that I have spent my career focusing on carbon capture and storage and I am always on the lookout for new ways to deal with climate change.

For a new method of carbon capture to be a success it has to be sustainable and economically viable, but if it can make a profit, it is even better!

When I came across this story of a company, Liquid Light, made up of chemical engineers, chemists, environmental engineers, physicists and mechanical engineers using carbon dioxide to make plastic bottles, face cream and wood glue, it made me think that this could be a real solution to our problem.

Carbon dioxide is perhaps the most available product in the world today; we all are focused on getting rid of it. Any method that can make this waste product into a profit is a big step forward.

Picture Credit | Liquid Light Liquid Light’s electrocatalytic ‘reaction cell’ is a key part of the company’s new process to produce major chemicals, like ethylene glycol, from widely available, inexpensive carbon dioxide. Production plants would combine numerous cells, as done today for other mainstream chemicals.
Picture Credit | Liquid Light
Liquid Light’s electrocatalytic ‘reaction cell’ is a key part of the company’s new process to produce major chemicals, like ethylene glycol, from widely available, inexpensive carbon dioxide. Production plants would combine numerous cells, as done today for other mainstream chemicals.

Liquid Light’s first process to convert carbon dioxide into a useful product is the production of ethylene glycol. This can then be used to make a wide range of consumer products such as plastic bottles, antifreeze and polyester clothing and has a £17 billion (US$27 billion) annual market.

The group suggest that their technology can be used to produce more than 60 chemicals with large existing market; eg propylene, isopropanol and acetic acid.

Liquid Light uses low-energy catalytic electrochemistry to convert carbon dioxide into chemicals using hydrogenation and purification. By adjusting the design of their catalyst the team have managed to produce a range of commercially relevant carbon compounds.

The team have suggested that a tonne of carbon dioxide could create between 10,000 to 20,000 bottles.

Green barrelsBy using multiple carbon dioxide feeds from one source Liquid Light suggest that this technology could be used to produce different products at the same time.

Currently the cost advantages of this process have been validated in a lab and I am looking forward to seeing how efficiently this works on a bigger scale.

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If you are working to innovate new methods of reducing carbon emissions why not get in touch and share your story.

3 thoughts on “Processing pollution into profit (Day 205)”

  1. This is a very interesting idea and anything that makes useful products from carbon dioxide and so makes carbon capture less expensive/profitable has got to be a step in the right direction. There are issues about plastic bottles but the most important point is about being able to make use of captured carbon rather than storing it.

    This needs to be looked at from the whole point of view of the carbon cycle.

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  2. Really interesting, but like the other commenter noted, creating the same types of products from a portion of the carbon dioxide left from those same products just isn’t enough of a step in the right direction for the potential that’s being experimented with for carbon sequestration. A great idea to bring it up and get more people thinking about and discussing this avenue though. Good stuff!

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  3. Thanks for sharing this story, but i want to know if we are converting it to plastic bottles its another environmental issue whom we are facing, Indeed carbon capture and storage is good idea to propagate the climate change and global warming, but inventing such products from carbon dioxide are not looking viable as we are thinking of shifting form plastic to any FAST degradable and recyclable or reusable things.

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