Transforming CO₂ into valuable products
XPrize Phase: Testing & Certification
Three of the four companies I researched use slightly different technologies to convert CO2 from the air into carbon nanoparticles which are then used in construction, infrastructure, and manufacturing. The fourth company converts direct sunlight into polymers and chemical products for industrial operations.
These companies have either already been in production publicly, or have been tested and have already received funding, although all XPrize groups in this activity are officially in the XPrize testing and certification process until at least July of this year.
C2CNT has found a way to inexpensively convert greenhouse carbon dioxide into hollow nanotube fibers - carbon nanotubes, nano-onions, graphene, and other carbon structural materials - which are used in high capacity batteries, nanoelectronics, and lighter weight alternatives to metals used in high end sports cars, airplanes, and athletic equipment. These nanofibers were previously made using expensive processes, but C2CNT has found a way to create the nanofibers using electrolysis in a molten carbonate bath.
Status: Seeking Funding
Carbon Upcycling-NLT http://www.carbonupcycling.com/
Carbon Upcycling and Newlight Technologies have combined companies to develop two different technologies.
Carbon Upcycling converts CO2 emissions into nanoparticles used in concrete, plastics, and batteries.
Newlight has developed a carbon capture technology that converts methane and CO2 into a bioplastic material called AirCarbon which is used to replaced oil-based plastics.
Status: In use commercially
- (See 7th paragraph https://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2019/12/03/obsessed-with-efficiency-the-2020-forbes-30-under-30-in-energy/
Uses existing concrete chemistry and equipment to react with CO2 from industrial emitters in order to create nano mineral carbonate within the concrete.
Status: In use in hundreds of construction projects including California high speed rail and commercial high rise buildings. It is easy to scale because it is simple and fast to implement plant retrofits.
- https://www.carboncure.com/news-press/2019/6/27/hcd Researchers Develop System That Transforms CO2 Into Concrete https://science.slashdot.org/?issue=20200210
Dimensional Energy: https://www.dimensionalenergy.net/
Dimensional Energy uses a photochemical reactor technology, named HI-Light, to convert direct sunlight to environmentally friendly polymers and chemical intermediaries for industrial operations. They have now adapted the platform to convert captured CO2 to fuel. The direct sunlight is captured by a modular array of mirrors and directed into the reactors. Due to the modular design, it is scalable and able to be used to capture CO2 emissions from industrial facilities which removes the need for shipping the captured polymers and chemical compounds to the facility for use.
Status: Funded by the National Science Foundation and industrial partners