The Future of Carbon Utilization

December
2018

A new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) examines the status of carbon utilization technologies that are designed to mitigate the buildup of greenhouse gases. The report also evaluates research needs and technical barriers for utilization, which transform carbon dioxide into resources with potential profit.

Each year, human activities produce approximately 35 billion metric tons of CO2 and 320 million metric tons of methane that end up in the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases are responsible for trapping heat in the air and subsequently for contributing to global warming.

The report describes several carbon utilization technologies, including one that makes products such as cement and concrete from CO2. In this process, waste CO2 reacts with alkaline solids such as magnesium and calcium, creating a mineral carbonate solid similar to cement. The material is then powdered and mixed with concrete aggregate, then cured into a durable product. Scientists have found that...

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