A US Perspective on Closing the Carbon Cycle to Defossilize Difficult-to-Electrify Degments of Our Economy

Wendy Shaw, Michelle Kidder, Simon Bare, Massimiliano Delferro, James Morris, Francesca Toma, Sanjaya Senanayake, Tom Autrey, Elizabeth Biddinger, Shannon Boettcher, Mark Bowden, Phillip Britt, Robert Brown, R. Morris Bullock, Jingguang Chen, Claus Daniel, Peter Dorhout, Rebecca Efroymson, Kelly Gaffney, Laura GagliardiAaron Harper, David Heldebrant, Oana Luca, Maxim Lyubovsky, Jonathan Male, Daniel Miller, Tanya Prozorov, Robert Rallo, Rachita Rana, Robert Rioux, Aaron Sadow, Joshua Schaidle, Lisa Schulte, William Tarpeh, Dionisios Vlachos, Bryan Vogt, Robert Weber, Jenny Yang, Elke Arenholz, Brett Helms, Wenyu Huang, James Jordahl, Canan Karakaya, Kourosh (Cyrus) Kian, Jotheeswari Kothandaraman, Johannes Lercher, Ping Liu, Deepika Malhotra, Karl Mueller, Casey O'Brien, Robert Palomino, Long Qi, Jose Rodriguez, Roger Rousseau, Jake Russell, Michele Sarazen, David Sholl, Emily Smith, Michaela Stevens, Yogesh Surendranath, Christopher Tassone, Ba Tran, William Tumas, Krista Walton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electrification to reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions is essential to mitigate climate change. However, a substantial portion of our manufacturing and transportation infrastructure will be difficult to electrify and/or will continue to use carbon as a key component, including areas in aviation, heavy-duty and marine transportation, and the chemical industry. In this Roadmap, we explore how multidisciplinary approaches will enable us to close the carbon cycle and create a circular economy by defossilizing these difficult-to-electrify areas and those that will continue to need carbon. We discuss two approaches for this: developing carbon alternatives and improving our ability to reuse carbon, enabled by separations. Furthermore, we posit that co-design and use-driven fundamental science are essential to reach aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)376-400
Number of pages25
JournalNature Reviews Chemistry
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2A00-89925


  • carbon alternatives
  • carbon cycle
  • carbon reuse


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