Conversion of CO2 to Value-Added Chemicals: Opportunities and Challenges

  • Arun S. Agarwal
  • Edward Rode
  • Narasi Sridhar
  • Davion Hill
Living reference work entry


The world is likely to emit almost 40 Gt/year of CO2 into the atmosphere. Even if only a small fraction of the globally emitted CO2 is captured, there will be a large quantity of CO2 available to society for use in a variety of ways. Thus, CO2 should not be regarded as a waste product, but as an asset that, with human ingenuity, could be used in a sustainable way. Since sustainability is at the intersection of environmental, economic, and intergenerational stewardship, the selection of a CO2 utilization process must offer net CO2 and waste reductions compared to conventional methods of producing the same end product, must be economical, and must not leave any additional problems for future society to solve. The criteria for selection may involve a variety of local considerations, such as government incentives, the availability of suitable renewable energy source, availability of water and other chemicals, land use, local demand for a specific product, etc. Therefore, CO2 utilization is a locally sustainable solution, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Utilization of CO2 may involve mostly physical processes, such as in enhanced oil recovery (EOR), solvent use, and beverage industry, where the CO2 is essentially retained in its original valence state, or chemical processes, where its valence state undergoes a change (Fig. 1). We will focus in this chapter on chemical conversion, which broadly includes thermochemical and electrochemical processes. The critical technology development parameters as well as the barriers for adoption of utilization technologies are also discussed.


Electrochemical CO2 utilization Formate salt Formic acid Thermochemical CO2 reduction Carbon dioxide Photoelectrochemical Electrofuel Electro-biochemical High surface area electrode Cathode Anode Faradaic efficiency Selectivity Catalyst degradation Tin cathode Methanol Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) Metal-free catalysts Copper cathode Technical barriers Technology adoption Electrolyzer Carbon monoxide Alcohols Hydrocarbons Electrolysis Catalyst stability Electrolyte Electrode structure Economic feasibility Overpotential CO2 to fuels CO2 to chemicals Synthesis gas 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arun S. Agarwal
    • 1
  • Edward Rode
    • 1
  • Narasi Sridhar
    • 1
  • Davion Hill
    • 2
  1. 1.Materials Program, Strategic Research and InnovationDNV GLDublinUSA
  2. 2.Energy & MaterialsDNV GLDublinUSA

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