By Barbara Olfe-Kräutlein, Katy Armstrong, Michele Mutchek, Lorenzo Cremonese, & Volker Sick
To realize their full sustainability potential, carbon dioxide utilization technologies (carbon capture and utilization/CCU) presently require policy support. Consequently, they require acceptance among a variety of stakeholders in industry, policy making, and in the public sphere alike. While CO2 utilization is already a topic of discourse among these stakeholders, there is a lack of common terminology to describe such technologies. On the contrary: The present article shows that terminology in the field of CO2 utilization technologies is currently used inconsistently, and that different designations such as CCU, CCUS, or CDR convey different meanings and contexts. These ambiguities may cause communication problems with regard to policy making, funding proposals, and especially in public discourse. In order to initiate and accompany a goal-oriented and knowledge-based debate on CO2 utilization technologies in the future, actors in the field are asked to question their own choices of terminology and to assess its accuracy. Acronyms and technical abbreviations are the chief cause of potential misunderstandings, and so should be avoided whenever possible or else include a brief explanation. Consistent and precise use of terminology will facilitate transparent dialogue concerning CO2 utilization in the future.
By Volker Sick, Gerald Stokes, & Fred C. Mason
Achieving a net climate benefit requires that captured CO2 (from stack emissions, directly from air or any other source) does not return to the atmosphere. There are several negative-emissions technologies that will meet this criterion. First, underground storage, possibly coupled with mineralization underground, creates essentially permanent removal. Second, CO2 can be mineralized above ground into benign solid materials that can be left in the environment. Third, construction materials such as concrete, aggregates, and wall boards can be made with the use of CO2. From a climate point of view the lifetime of those materials can be considered permanent. While structures (buildings, roads, etc.) will not last permanently, the mineralized CO2 in the underlying raw materials will. The latter negative emissions technology category has the added benefit of creating revenue from the sale of the products and thus providing financial incentives for deployment. The potential CO2 utilization amount and market size for mineral-based construction materials is projected from today to 2050 and is discussed in context of the total addressable market for respective products. A range of scenarios for growth are considered and discussed. CO2 utilization between 1.0 and 10.8 gigatons per year is projected with a market valuation reaching 0.8–1 trillion USD/year by 2050.