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25 Mar 2020, 14:16
Sören Amelang

German researchers test conversion of CO2 from air into solid carbon in 'world first'

Clean Energy Wire

German researchers are trying to convert CO2 from ambient air into solid carbon in a bid to establish technologies that can help achieving a climate neutral economy. Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are building a container-sized test facility to turn the greenhouse gas into a material called carbon black for "the first time worldwide," according to a press release. Carbon black is a highly pure carbon powder that can be used as a resource in many industries including electronics, printing and construction.

According to the release, the process steps have already been studied and developed up to laboratory scale by researchers, but they have so far never been realized together in an integrated facility. The major advantage over previously proposed concepts to reduce atmospheric CO2, such as carbon capture and storage methods (CCS), consists in this end product which "is far less difficult to handle than CO2 and can even be used as a resource," said research coordinator Benjamin Dietrich. In the realisation of the project, KIT cooperates with its own spin-off INERATEC GmbH and Climeworks, a spinoff of technical university ETH Zurich.

To reach the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to below two degrees, global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will have to be complemented by solutions for removing already emitted CO2 from the air on a massive scale, a process referred to as "negative emissions," according to most scenarios.

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