HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Paris, France or Virtually from your home or work.
Michele Aresta, Speaker at Catalysis Conferences
Innovative Catalysis for Carbon Recycling-IC2R, Italy
Title : Towards the carbon cyclic economy: Catalysis for CO2 conversion into fuels


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.


Doctor of Industrial Chemistry, University of Milan, Milan-IT; PhD of Engineering Honoris Causa University of Bath, Bath-UK, 2016; Honorary Professor at the Chemical Engineering Faculty, University of Tianjin, China; CEO of “Innovative Catalysis for Carbon Recycling-IC2R Ltd; President of the Scientific Board of the Interuniversity Consortium on Chemical Reactivity and Catalysis, Italy.
Former Full Professor of Chemistry University of Bari, IT until 2012; IMM Professor-NUS-Singapore 2012-2016; David Parkin Professor at the University of Bath, UK 2016-2017; GIAN Professor at the ANNA University, Chennai-India, 2018; Professor of Carbon Cyclic Economy, UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2019. Author of over 350 papers in peer reviewed international journals and of 12 books on CO2 and Biomass valorization; owner of several international and national patents. Founder and Honorary Chair of ICCDU-International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Utilization. Awards: Italian Chemical Society for the “Pioneering work on Carbon Dioxide Activation (and Utilization)” 1990; Renoir Award for the dissemination of Science, 1990; Société Française de Chimie, 1995 for Inorganic Chemistry; Tianjin University, Tianjin China, for Green Chemistry 2002; Recognitions from the American Chemical Society for the dissemination of “CO2 Utilization”; Gold medal of the Inorganic Chemistry Division of the Italian Chemical Society, 2016; International award for the contribution to the development of the Chemistry of CO2 2017.