The Feasibility of Direct CO2 Conversion Technologies on Impacting Mid-Century Climate Goals

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5 Scopus Citations


Recent IPCC modeling suggests that to limit global warming below 2°C, “unprecedented” reductions in CO2 emissions will be required during the 2030–2050 time frame. The direct conversion of CO2 to fuels and chemicals using renewable electricity has garnered interest as one route to draw down emissions with the ability to synthesize products at a significantly lower carbon footprint than conventional methods. However, most direct CO2 conversion pathways are only in the early stages of development and face technical and market hurdles prior to scale-up, bringing into question what role they may play in influencing global CO2 emissions within this critical two-decade window. In this perspective, we highlight low-temperature electrolysis as a promising technology for direct CO2 conversion, including discussion on the products that could most impact global emission levels, and importantly, offer insight into the timeline, required advancements, and specific technical targets needed to successfully scale and deploy these technologies at the commercial level.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1684-1699
Number of pages16
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-85389


  • chemicals
  • CO
  • electrolysis
  • fuels
  • renewable electricity
  • sustainability
  • techno-economics


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