PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — As carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise, so does interest in finding ways of putting excess CO2 to good use. Next week, business leaders and clean energy investors from all over the Northeast will gather in Providence to learn about the progress being made in research aimed at converting captured CO2 into useful chemicals and fuels.
The conference, titled “CO2: From Waste to Worth — Exploring the Market for CO2-Based Commodities,” will be held Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, at Brown University’s Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics, 121 South Main Street (11th floor) in Providence. The event is sponsored by Brown University, New England Clean Energy Council, the Slater Technology Fund, and Commerce RI’s Renewable Energy Fund. Richard Sandor, chairman and CEO of Environmental Financial Products, will give the keynote address.
Details about conference registration are available online.
Capture and use of carbon will be key elements in plans to reduce CO2 emissions to internationally agreed-upon levels by 2050. But in order for CO2 capture and use to be a viable means of reducing emissions, they must lead to creation of useful products. Substantial progress is being made on that front.
Brown’s Center for the Capture and Conversion of CO2 (C4) aims to develop new catalytic chemistries that enable CO2 to become a sustainable feedstock for large-scale commodity chemicals. Commodity chemicals — basic chemical ingredients used to make products from plastics to pharmaceuticals — are produced by the millions of tons each year. Making those chemicals often requires the use of petroleum as a carbon source. The C4 team is developing new catalysts and techniques that can activate CO2 for use as an alternative carbon source.
Among C4’s accomplishments since its inception two years ago:
- A method that holds promise in converting CO2 to acrylate, a chemical widely used to make products like polyester cloth and diapers.
- A technique using gold nanoparticles to reduce CO2 to CO, an active carbon source that could be used for a variety of chemicals and fuels.
- A catalyst made from copper foam that shows promise in producing a number of chemical ingredients.
A complete list of academic papers published by the C4 group is available online.
The next step in bringing these advances into the marketplace is to connect with business leaders and clean energy entrepreneurs. The “CO2: Waste to Worth” conference aims to do just that. The event will feature two panel discussions — one with business leaders discussing investment opportunities related to CO2 commodities and one with researchers discussing advances in CO2 conversion.
The program is designed to encourage productive discussion among the business community and academic researchers and to explore the environmental and economic possibilities of carbon capture and utilization.
Business leaders, investors, policymakers, and academic researchers in clean technology from around New England
“CO2: From Waste to Worth—Exploring the Market for CO2-Based Commodities” with keynote by Richard Sandor, chairman and CEO of Environmental Financial Products
Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, from 2 to 6:30 p.m.
Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics (ICERM)
121 South Main Street, 11th floor
Providence, Rhode Island