EnCO2re programme now looking for industrial partners to scale up race to use CO2 as a feedstock in plastic manufacturing
A programme which aims to commercialise the re-use of captured CO2 in the plastics industry is seeking industrial partners to help scale up its research.
The EnCO2re open innovation programme, formally launched at the K-Fair in Düsseldorf on Friday, is being led by cleantech incubator Climate-KIC and high tech polymer specialists Covestro. It aims use captured CO2 to replace fossil fuels as a feedstock in the manufacture of plastics.
The programme already has more than a dozen research partners in seven countries, however EnCO2re said is now ready to work with industrial partners deploy its CO2 re-use solutions at scale.
EnCO2re argues the CO2 re-use market has the potential to grow to up to 3.7 billion tonnes per year, 20 times its size today and equal to roughly 10 per cent of global emissions.
However, current technologies face technical, commercial and financial barriers to both development and widespread deployment.
EnCO2re aims to acts as an innovation hub, partner network and market development programme which intends to break down technical, commercial and financial barriers the current technologies face.
Charlotte Williams, a professor of catalysis and polymer chemistry at Oxford, said it is only together industry and academia can move more quickly toward delivering sustainable industrial processes.
“Industry and academia need to work hand in hand to solve the world’s biggest challenges,” she said in a statement. “Being part of EnCO2re helps us collaborate with some of the world’s CO2 re-use experts toward a common goal.”
Ted Grozier, programme manager at EnCO2re, said society urgently needs to figure out how to make plastics without using fossil fuels. “While it’s easy to point out the environmental problems of plastics, the reality is that our society depends on these materials in critical sectors such as healthcare, insulation, and in making vehicles that are lighter and use less fuel,” he said in a statement.
He added that just like the use of bio-based feedstocks and improved recycling, re-using CO2 presents an opportunity to apply closed-loop processes to a large and growing industry. “EnCO2re is aimed squarely at seizing that opportunity – and using it as a pillar of European competitive advantage,” he added.
EnCO2re already has active projects in two of the three main CO2-to-chemical conversion routes: catalysis and electrochemistry, and plans to add projects covering the third biological route in 2017.