CO2 Capture and Utilization, Investments Across The Globe

The process of trapping carbon dioxide emissions and either using them to manufacture things like construction materials (utilization) or permanently storing them hundreds of feet below the surface is known as carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) (storage). Numerous applications that directly (i.e., without chemical modification) or indirectly use CO2 are referred to as “carbon capture and use” (i.e., by being changed into different products). By 2030, 5 Mt of CO2 might potentially be absorbed for the production of synthetic fuel. Based on the current project pipeline. Half of the projects that have been announced are still in the early stages of development. It will likely need additional support to move forward with the operation. This level of deployment is close to the 7.5 Mt of CO2. It is needed in the synthesis of synthetic fuels in the Net Zero Scenario in 2030.

CO2 Carbon Dioxide Utilization
Wood Mackenzie, Malcolm Forbes-Cable

Decrease of emissions

Emissions can be decreased by capturing carbon dioxide from industrial processes before it can escape into the atmosphere or by removing it directly from the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide is subsequently recycled or delivered through a deep injection hole. Ιt is securely stored for all time. In order to achieve the Paris Agreement’s global net-zero aspirations, CCUS plays a crucial role in lowering the carbon intensity of industrial processes. In reality, the IPCC emphasizes in its Global Warming of 1.5 °C reports that it won’t be able to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. To do so, need significant mitigation measures, such as the widespread use of carbon dioxide removal technology like CCUS.

Safeness in the epicenter

CO2 is an inert gas that is not combustible, making it safe for transportation. Larger quantities of pressurized CO2 are typically delivered by pipes. Whereas smaller amounts, like the CO2 used in carbonated beverages, can be transported in trucks.
Safe storage:  Carefully choose locations within rock formations more than half a mile underground to store CO2. Then, e bury the CO2 underground in saline formations, depleted oil and gas fields, or both. Reuse of captured carbon is safe and possible in a variety of products, including diamonds, clothing, and even construction materials like concrete, plastic, and foam.

Investment in CO2 conversion

The growing interest in CO2 conversion technologies is reflected in the amount of private and public investment that has been made in companies in this industry. Due to business goals and standards for low-emission materials and fuels, sustainable building materials and aviation fuels use more CO2. Over the past 10 years, venture capital investments for new businesses employing CO2 have exceeded USD 1 billion globally.

Governments have also promised to or already have allocated resources for deployment. The UK government declared in 2021 that it will contribute GBP 180 million in financing. Aiming to support the nation’s design and construction of sustainable aviation fuel plants. The governments of Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States are all making significant contributions to RD&D for CO2 usage. In addition to the European Commission. Amsterdam is getting a cutting-edge methanol factory thanks to the Sustainable Energy Transition Subsidy Scheme (SDE++) in the Netherlands.

Research and Development

The introduction of scalable, climate-beneficial CO2-derived goods and services that have a good possibility of eventually becoming competitive may require support for research and development (R&D) and demonstration. For instance, the US Department of Energy’s Carbon Use and Reuse R&D portfolio, national CO2 use R&D programs, and China’s 13th Five-Year Plan sector goals have all considerably benefited the development of CCU. Through Mission Innovation funding, opportunities have been given to advance worldwide CO2 usage research and development. For additional elements of the value chain, like CO 2 collection and low-carbon hydrogen production, research and development are necessary.

Renewable Energy Directive (RED II)

The use of “recycled carbon fuels” is encouraged under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) in the European Union, provided that they result in emission reductions of at least 70% when compared to their fossil counterparts. In November 2016, the European Commission presented its “Clean Energy for all Europeans” initiative. As part of this package, the Commission adopted a legislative proposal for reformulating the Renewable Energy Directive.

As part of the co-decision procedure, a final compromise text among the EU institutions was accepted in June 2018. In December 2018, the revised 2018/2001/EU directive on renewable energy became law. In RED II, the overall EU goal for consuming renewable energy sources by 2030 has been raised to 32%. The co-legislators of the final accord added a transport sub-target: By 2030, Member States shall require that at least 14% of the energy consumed for road and rail transportation come from renewable sources. This sub-target was not included in the Commission’s first proposal.

Investments 2015-2021

In the following chart, we can see the development of venture capital investment in CCU startups. There has been a significant increase last few years. Mainly in the field of fuels, chemicals, and polymers. Any member of the family of natural or artificial substances known as polymers is made up of very big molecules, or macromolecules, which are variations of simpler chemical building blocks known as monomers. Numerous components of living things are made of polymers, such as proteins, cellulose, and nucleic acids. They also serve as the building blocks for materials manufactured by humans, including concrete, glass, paper, plastics, and rubbers, as well as minerals like diamond, quartz, and feldspar.

CO2 building materials graph
Venture Capital investments in CCU start-ups, 2015-2021, International Energy Agency.


Encourage multi-year test trials for construction materials made from CO2
A net zero CO2 emissions economy might involve funding R&D and demonstration for future uses of CO2. Such as in the production of aviation fuels and chemicals. This should go hand in hand with research and development, as well as demonstrations for CO2 capture from biomass and the atmosphere and low-carbon hydrogen production. The development and use of these technologies can be sped up through support for global R&D. In addition to the demonstration, and knowledge transfer programs, governments could also directly subsidize the development of technologies. Technologies that have promising futures in terms of scalability, competitiveness, and CO2 emission reduction.

Written by our Energy Enthusiast
Pavlos Hitiris

Pavlos Hitiris Author

Pavlos has a Bachelor’s in International and European Studies from the Panteion University of Athens. He has worked successfully at a Law Firm in Kolonaki, Athens. Currently, he is working at a Solution Provider/System Integrator Company in Athens. Postgraduate student of the MSc in Energy: Strategy, Law, and Economics at the University of Piraeus in the faculty of International and European Studies. Speaks Greek, English, and German. He is keen on Middle East culture and history.

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