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Carbon2Chem

Chemicals from CO2: Breathing New Life into Waste Gas

| Author / Editor: Dominik Stephan* / Dominik Stephan

From smokestack to test tube: Will exhaust gases become a raw material for chemicals? A project at the Duisburg steelworks is designed to show us how this will work.
From smokestack to test tube: Will exhaust gases become a raw material for chemicals? A project at the Duisburg steelworks is designed to show us how this will work. (Source: ©StudioLaMagica, © mitifoto, ©123dartist - stock.adobe.com; [M]GötzelHorn)

Science, industry and politics are joining forces to turn exhaust gases into chemical raw materials — Some 20 million tons of CO2 are at stake — this is the amount of greenhouse gas Germany's steelworks emit into the atmosphere every year. No surprise then that experts see great potential for the material use of waste gases. Can the mammoth project “smokestack chemistry” succeed? The Carbon2Chem conference is campaigning for a cooperation between the different players.

You only live twice — anything James Bond can do, shouldn't be a problem for the chemical industry. Of all things, it is the greenhouse gas and climate killer CO2 that is to be granted a second lease of life — as a raw material for polymers, chemicals or synthetic fuel. Carbon2Chem (C2C) is a project that conducts research into the material use of exhaust gases.

The primary interest is focused on so-called smelter gases, exhaust gases from blast furnace processes in steelworks. In terms of their composition, these gases are very similar to classical synthesis gases — something that, according to the researchers, will enable a large number of reaction routes. The potential is considerable: The widespread use of this technology in the German steel industry alone could help save up to 20 million tons of CO2 — which would correspond to 10 % of the country's entire CO2 emissions.

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