Experts call for CO2 as raw material in chemical and other sectors

25 November 2011 17:01  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Chemical firms, research institutes and governments need to cooperate closely to explore ways of utilising carbon dioxide (CO2) as a raw material for the production of chemicals, plastics and other products, experts said on Friday following a conference in Aachen, Germany.

“The use of CO2 as a raw material is an important and promising international field of research,” said Walter Leithner, a professor of technical chemistry at Aachen University.

However, success in this field requires strong inter-disciplinary cooperation between science and research institutes, universities, industry, and governments, Leithner said.

Gabriele Centi, professor of technical chemistry at Italy’s University of Messina, said a key research focus is the identification all sectors that can use CO2 as a raw material.

“We are still far from having identified all those areas,” Centi said.

As one example of cooperation, the experts pointed to a project between Aachen University, Bayer MaterialScience, and German energy firm RWE.

The project aims to produce high-value plastics from CO2, with the carbon from the CO2 replacing part of the oil needed in the production process. Germany’s federal government is supporting that project.

The conference at Aachen University gathered about 70 experts from a number of countries, including the US, France, Italy and Germany, as well as representative from the EU Commission and Germany’s federal research ministry.

In related news, Germany’s chemical industry trade group VCI on Friday called on government leaders to work out a globally binding deal on climate protection at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC), which begins next week in Durban, South Africa.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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