Research teams have long been looking for methods to convert CO2 captured from emissions into carbon-based solids for the production of consumer products. In the past, turning CO2 gas to solid carbon required extremely high temperatures and a tremendous amount of energy making it a process unviable for industry and bad for the environment – the opposite of its intention.

However, one group of researchers have found they can use the sun to convert CO2 to usable materials, like polymers. They found that certain catalyst molecules when activated by ultraviolet light, become negatively charged anions and transfer electrons to CO2 molecules. This makes the CO2 able to be converted into plastics and other solid materials. This process is energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly.

Another research team has been working on converting CO2 to solid carbon using liquid metal as the catalyst. In the past, this process has also required extremely high temperatures. But these researchers have discovered a new method using gallium-based alloys as the catalyst. This process can be performed in room temperature due to the fact that these alloys remain liquid at that temperature. This process has a side benefit in that the carbon can hold an electrical charge. This gives it the potential of being used in future automobiles. Additionally, the process produces a synthetic fuel by-product which has many industrial uses.

The Polymers Technology Center helps companies in processing polymers. We assist producers in developing the compounds they need, from LTL to full truck loads. Contact us to learn more about how we can help with new product or process development.