Episode 7 - Greenhouse mattresses

Episode 7 - Greenhouse mattresses. Never Lick the Spoon is a quirky podcast from IMSE that brings to life the tiny world of molecules

'Does Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) make sense in the UK?'

We addressed this question in a briefing paper entitled 'Assessing the economic and environmental value of carbon capture and utilisation in the UK', which was a collaborative project with the Institute of Molecular Science and Engineering at Imperial College London.

To carry out our assessment we did a number of separate investigations, which we then brought together to obtain the big picture. Firstly, we studied extensively the life cycle analyses (LCA) and techno-economic studies published on CO2 conversion to (a) polyurethane, (b) methanol and (c) carbon nanotubes; these were the three case studies we focused on. Secondly, we looked at the geographical distribution of stationary industrial CO2 emission sources and compared these with the prospective Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) infrastructure in the UK. Finally, we used the typical emission rates of average power plants (ca. 1 GT CO2 year-1) to determine the market potential of the three CO2-based products. 

The paper headlines are as follows:

  • Proposed CCU projects should always be assessed on a case-by-case basis, using detailed, UK-centric, cradle-to-grave life cycle analyses. What works in one country may well not work in another.
  • CCU cannot provide the emission mitigation rate of CCS, but as the UK’s entire geological storage capacity is offshore, CCU could mitigate emissions from inland point sources.
  • Of the considered CCU pathways, presently the production of polyurethane is the most promising for the UK and could provide an immediate short-term mitigation solution for greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, methanol production does not appear to be a viable solution. Carbon nanotube synthesis requires reactor scale-up and pilot plant tests before a conclusion could be made.

Take a look at our short info-video below ↓

How could carbon capture and usage help the UK reduce its carbon emissions?

Briefing Paper No. 3 - IMSE

How could carbon capture and usage help the UK reduce its carbon emissions?

Carbon capture and usage is the process of capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to be recycled for further use. It may offer a response to the global challenge of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from major emitters. In this video, the Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering at Imperial College London assesses the viability of different carbon capture and usage options based on life cycle analysis.