Editorial overview Innovative methods in CO2 conversion: A breath of fresh air? - CEA - Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives Access content directly
Journal Articles Current opinion in green and sustainable chemistry Year : 2017

Editorial overview Innovative methods in CO2 conversion: A breath of fresh air?


In December 2015, the United Nations conference on climate change (COP21) has brought public awareness on the steps required to slow down global warming. It has also set a framework to mitigate climate change by agreeing on 17 Sustainable development goals, including goal 13: " Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts ". As this editorial is being written, major countries are ratifying the Agreement. Anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide have increased by almost 50 per cent since 1990 and human activities today release 34 Gt CO2 per year in the biosphere, with half of them accumulating in the atmosphere. While this abundance of CO2 can be seen as an opportunity for production of carbon-based materials and chemicals, the thermodynamic and kinetic stability of this waste compound represents a tremendous hurdle in its transformation. Whereas CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS) could provide a meaningful way to reduce CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, this strategy is not economically sustainable, in the absence of strong and reliable political incentives and subsidies. In contrast, the recycling of CO2 in the form of valuable compounds (namely CCU – CO2 Capture and Utilization) today represents the first approach implemented in the industry. Indeed, ca. 200 Mt/yr CO2 are currently utilized to produce urea (Bosch-Meiser process), cyclic and polymeric carbonates and salicylic acid (Kolbe-Schmitt process), corresponding to only 0.6 % CO2 being recycled. Much efforts are being focused by chemists worldwide, both in the academy and in the industry, to increase this tiny contribution and, in this issue, we have brought together some of the latest research on the best ways to capture and use waste CO2. Large-scale production using CO2 in the industry would be a fascinating dream for synthetic chemists and the realization of such an objective necessitates the design of efficacious catalysts able to promote the activation and cleavage of the strong C–O bonds in CO2. In this respect, mechanistic insights at the molecular level and efficient system and process models are invaluable. As a cost-efficient, non-toxic and sustainable carbon feedstock, CO2 is an attractive raw material as a C1-building block for chemicals and materials but also as an energy vector. The reduction of CO2 to energetic compounds, such as CO, formic acid, methanol and light hydrocarbons, is of paramount importance to reduce our dependence to fossil fuels. This goal strongly depends on the elaboration of active and stable electro-and/or photo-catalysts, able to convert renewable energies into chemical energy, for example by mimicking photosynthesis. It could be achieved by using solar energy, wind energy, biomass-based energy, and development of advanced technologies using water or biomass as a hydrogen source.
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cea-01465971 , version 1 (13-02-2017)




Liangnian He, Thibault Cantat. Editorial overview Innovative methods in CO2 conversion: A breath of fresh air?. Current opinion in green and sustainable chemistry, 2017, 3, pp.iii-iv. ⟨10.1016/j.cogsc.2017.01.001⟩. ⟨cea-01465971⟩
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