What to do about CO2? Options for CO2 mitigation in the chemical industry and beyond

Originally delivered Mar 2, 2021
  • Type:
    Archived Webinar
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  • Duration:
    1 hour
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As levels of atmospheric CO2 continue to rise, all areas of society, including the chemical industry, are being asked to “do something” about CO2.  But what? How should we best use our limited resources to address climate change?  In this webinar, we’ll look at some of the various options for CO2 mitigation, and consider which of them are most likely to have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

Our talk will be divided into two parts.  In the first half, we’ll look at this problem from the point of view of the chemical industry.  We’ll start by looking at CO2 utilization, where waste CO2 is used as a raw material to be converted into useful products such as fuels, chemical intermediates, and polymers.  However, thermodynamics puts significant limitations on CO2 utilization, so we’ll consider when this might contribute to CO2 mitigation, and how much of an impact it can have.  A broader set of options for reducing emissions from chemical production will considered, and the opportunities and challenges that come with these approaches will be discussed.

All methods for mitigating carbon dioxide emissions require energy, and renewable energy is required for many of these methods.  However, there appears to be a tendency to view renewable energy as a “free” resource, such that the energy efficiency of mitigation routes is not taken into consideration.  Energy in any form has value, whether it comes from renewable sources or not.  Renewable energy is therefore a valuable resource that should be used as efficiently as possible to maximize its benefit for reducing global warming.  In the second half of the webinar, we will consider CO2 mitigation from a broader point of view and discuss and rank various routes for using renewable power to mitigate CO2 emissions.  We will show that avoiding carbon dioxide emissions is the most efficient use of this energy.

  1. S. Stevenson, Thermodynamic considerations in CO2 utilization, AIChE Journal, https://aiche.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aic.16695 
  2. J. Lattner, Carbon dioxide mitigation using renewable power, Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2211339820300307 


James Lattner

James Lattner, PhD, retired as Chief Engineer at ExxonMobil Chemical in 2019. He is now a consultant, specializing in renewable chemicals and renewable power applications, and teaches reaction engineering and unit operations at the Univ. of Houston. He received a BS from the Missouri Institute of Science and Technology and a PhD from the Univ. of Houston, both in chemical engineering. He is an inventor or co-inventor on more than 150 U.S. patents.Read more

Scott Stevenson

Scott Stevenson, PhD, is a Research Fellow for SABIC Technology & Innovation, where his work focuses on catalysis and new process development. He is a leader in the company’s efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Stevenson is a co-inventor on more than 50 U.S. patents and author of 20 publications. He received his BA and BS degrees from Oregon State Univ. and a PhD from the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, all in chemical engineering.Read more

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