What Should We Make with CO2 and How Can We Make It?

Jao Van De Lagemaat, Ling Tao, Genevieve Saur, Oleksandr Bushuyev, Phil Luna, Cao-Thang Dinh, Shana Kelley, Edward Sargent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

984 Scopus Citations

Abstract

In this forward-looking Perspective, we discuss the current state of technology and the economics of electrocatalytic transformation of CO2 into various chemical fuels. Our analysis finds that short-chain simple building-block molecules currently present the most economically compelling targets. Making an optimistic prediction of technology advancement in the future, we propose the gradual rise of photocatalytic, CO2 polymerization, biohybrid, and molecular machine technologies to augment and enhance already practical electrocatalytic CO2 conversion methods. In a world struggling to limit global temperature increases to below 2°C, we see a host of emerging technologies aiming to recycle CO2. They range from those nearing commercialization, such as electrocatalytic reduction, to technologies being explored in the lab environment, such as photocatalytic, CO2 polymerization, and biohybrids, to those only now being imagined, such as molecular machine technologies. With a multitude of available pathways for CO2 recycling, we ask ourselves a question—what should we make with CO2 that is both economically viable and helpful for the environment and how should we make it? In this forward-looking Perspective, we discuss the current state of technology and economics of electrocatalytic transformation of CO2 into various chemical fuels. Our analysis finds that short-chain simple building-block molecules currently present the most economically compelling targets. Making an optimistic prediction of technology advancement in the future, we propose the gradual rise of photocatalytic, CO2 polymerization, biohybrid, and molecular machine technologies to augment and enhance already practical electrocatalytic CO2 conversion methods.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)825-832
Number of pages8
JournalJoule
Volume2
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 May 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Inc.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-68734

Keywords

  • electrocatalytic CO2 reduction
  • renewable energy
  • solar-photochemistry
  • techno-economic assessment

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'What Should We Make with CO2 and How Can We Make It?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this