Carbon Capture and Utilization

Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) is a term for the use of CO2 in a closed loop. CO2 is already used to produce certain products, including carbonic acid, carbon fibers and urea for the chemical industry. Some industries - such as concrete and cement production - can likely only become carbon neutral through carbon capture since CO2 emissions occur during production itself.

CCU essentially involves two steps: first, CO2 is captured from industrial processes or directly from the air. There is a key distinction between capture at the point source - in power plants, industrial processes, or biomass plants - and extraction from ambient air (direct air capture). The second step is to utilize the captured CO2. Here, the utilization methods vary depending on the product. The chemical industry uses around 21 million metric tons of carbon a year to manufacture CO2-based products.

In the future, CO2 could also be used to produce synthetic fuels and thus contribute significantly to the decarbonization of transport on land, at sea and in the air.

Another possibility is the use of CO2 in agriculture. Injecting CO2 into the soil can enhance plant growth and soil fertility. This process is called CO2 fertilization and could help increase agricultural production while sequestering CO2.

Additionally, carbon could be used as a raw material in the production of carbon concrete or as a binder in cement.