The defossilization of the energy and chemical sectors demands for alternative sources of carbon for those applications that cannot be decarbonized. Besides the biomass utilization, recycling of carbon is the key option. Either plastics or carbon dioxide can be considered to this end, with CO2 being the most abundant and easy to reach form of carbon. The conversion of CO2 into chemicals demands a moderate to zero energy input: close to one fourth of CO2 emitted from the chemical sector is recycled for making chemicals since the late 1800s. The conversion of CO2 into fuels requires both energy and hydrogen: it had no sense to implement such technology in an energy frame based on fossil-C: more CO2 would have been emitted than converted. The extended deployment of primary perennial sources such as Sun-Wind-Hydro-Geo power allows to substitute fossil-C, opening to new scenarios on green-H2 production and the possibility of a conversion of CO2 into fuels at a large scale. Even the development of new solar-energy based technologies, such as photochemical and photoelectrochemical processes, will sustain the shift from fossil-C to recycled-C, taking advantage of the knowledge of CO2 chemistry that is investigated since the late 1970s.
Recycling carbon will allow to use the existing infrastructures, with great economic benefit and resource conservation, while implementing a drastic change for what concerns the C-source. Supplanting fossil-C with CO2 will mean stopping the transfer of carbon from ground to the atmosphere, limiting the impact of GHG on climate. Recycling carbon is mimetic of Nature that makes all biomass from CO2-H2O and solar energy.
Opportunities and barriers will be discussed to the deployment of a Carbon Cyclic Economy-CCE.
Audience Takeaway Notes:
- This paper will inform the audience about the state of the art and prospect on defossilization and carbon recycling.
- New routes to energy vectors produced from CO2 (solar fuels) will be discussed and how the production of green-hydrogen will cross the recycling of carbon will be highlighted. The strategy of avoiding the green H2-production by direct coprocessing of water and CO2 under solar irradiation will be presented.
- The new approach to C-recycling opens to new professions and expertise, creating new jobs, while producing innovation.
- This innovative strategy is attracting more and more young people interested to solve the problem of reducing the impact of anthropic activities on climate change.