AMSTERDAM - This year the profits of CO2 capture will exceed the costs for the first time. This conclusion emerges from a survey by this newspaper among businesses in the chemistry, cement, waste and steel sectors.
O2 has gradually grown into a fully-fledged part of the circular economy, say traders on the Amsterdam Recycling Exchange where the supply and demand for CO2 come together. These traders believe that the decision at the Amsterdam Climate Top in 2022 to heavily tax CO2 emissions has contributed to this development. Since then, heavy industry has made considerable investments in techniques for CO2 capture. This was done in collaboration with knowledge institutions in chemistry and materials science and with the financial support of investment companies. Since then, CO2 has increasingly found uses a sustainable alternative for construction materials such as concrete, the production of biofuels and as an alternative in basic chemistry for highly persistent plastics.
An even bigger challenge was direct air capture, the capture of CO2 in the open air. Large-scale systems that pump through air were developed for this. The high energy costs of the systems were counterbalanced by feeding the installations with the peak energy from the electricity grid when surplus energy is generated from solar and wind power. Eventually, CO2 capture towers were developed with favourable air flows with the wind blowing the air through.
In 2028, studies by materials science research groups made multifunctional and light-sensitive materials commercially available. These materials capture CO2 during the night. During the day these materials convert the CO2 into a hydrocarbon under the influence of daylight and with the help of a chemical reaction. The hydrocarbon serves as the basis for liquid fuels such as ethanol and methanol.