Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Acronyms in sustainable chemistry: CCS and CCR for carbon capture and storage and reuse, respectively

The term carbon capture is commonly used in the context of avoiding or reducing the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. The acronym CCS stands for carbon capture and storage or carbon capture and sequestration. The acronym CCR stands for carbon capture and reuse or carbon capture and recycling.

CCS typically refers to the storage of CO2 in geological formations. CCR refers to technologies that include winning, purification and use of CO2. Today, about 110 million tons of this greenhouse gas—less than 0.5% of its worldwide emission—are recycled as raw material for further use as industrial gas or precursor compound in chemical synthesis [1]. Research in the future use of CO2 as a building block in polymer syntheses, for example, has been discussed and initiated [1,2]. Rational design of new catalysts and photocatalytic approaches may result in the implementation of effective CO2-consuming processes. However, sustainability of such processes has to be critically evaluated by accounting for the total energy input and the overall CO2 balance. The fabrication of novel compounds with desired properties can be expected and will result in the fixation of a certain amount of CO2, depending on their lifetime. But this amount is not going to liberate us from the need of finding other means of reducing atmospheric CO2 emission.

[1] A. Bazzanalla, D. Krämer and M. Peters:
CO2 als Rohstoff. Nachrichten aus der Chemie December 2010, 58, 1226-1230.
DOI: 10.1002/nadc.201075752.
[2] Vom Problem zum Rohstoff? Interview mit Walter Leitner.
CO2NET: Technologien für Nachhaltigkeit und Klimaschutz.

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