Carbon: The Final Frontier
by Jennifer Holmgren (LanzaTech/Biofuels Digest) … With recent prices of renewables at <$0.04/KWh, it is no longer a question of if but rather a continual march to a day when we fully decarbonize power production. The same cannot be said of liquid fuels, especially for aviation, or chemicals. These still require carbon and we now have a choice as to where that carbon comes from.
Today there is an abundance of carbon in all the wrong places with plumes of carbon based particulates polluting our major cities. We currently recycle metals, plastics and paper, so why not recycle carbon and using the principles of the circular economy, convert it into useful products? Imagine a “carbon smart” world where you could capture waste emissions from a factory and recycle them into chemicals to make plastic piping for your home, make fibers for your running shoes or make low carbon fuel for your next flight abroad? This world is possible now.
ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel and mining company, and LanzaTech, are the epitome of “carbon smart.” Both founding members of the forward-thinking global initiative, below50, the companies are constructing a 64,000-ton ethanol/annum carbon capture and utilization (CCU) project, in Belgium, that takes waste gases from steelmaking and ferments them with a microbe to produce low carbon fuel and chemicals.
It takes time to gain acceptance for new ideas and it is imperative that there is a level playing field for all sustainable technologies to contribute, regardless of feedstock or technology. The focus must be on decarbonizing and meeting sustainability criteria not how this outcome is achieved. Indeed, today in Europe there is an opportunity to broaden the scope of the Renewable Energy Directive to include all sustainable technologies that can contribute to the fuel pool while delivering carbon reductions. Without inclusion, there is no market for these fuels and with no market, there is no investment. READ MORE