News

“Products from Pollution”

What does this sticker mean?

Welcome to the Global CO2 Initiative! If you’re new to carbon capture and *conversion, this site will provide a short introduction to the field.

You may already know that all living things on earth are carbon based life forms.

But did you know that most of the products we use in everyday life are also made out of carbon? When a raw material is used to make other products, we call it a “feedstock.” The products below are made with carbon feedstocks.

Historically, we have gotten the carbon feedstock needed to make products from fossil sources, like oil. When those products decay, the carbon is then released back into the atmosphere.

Eventually, we realized that too much carbon has been released into the atmosphere, partly due to products decaying, but also because of the fossil energy sources we use.

This excess of carbon in the atmosphere and oceans contributes to global warming, which is causing catastrophic problems all over the world. So we need to stop using fossil fuels as soon as possible.

We can and should use renewable sources of energy (e.g. wind or solar) instead of fossil sources of energy. Windmills and solar panels are great at producing energy; they are not great at producing carbon feedstock. In fact, they do not produce any carbon feedstock at all.

So, if we stop using all fossil sources of carbon, how will we get the carbon feedstock that we need to make products?

How will we be able to create all of the products that we need for everyday living?

This is a pressing issue that directly affects climate change and a wide array of industries. That’s where carbon capture comes in. Carbon capture and conversion (CCC) is the process of capturing carbon from various sources and using it to make everyday products.

Why is CCC important?

CCC is a key aspect of climate action for a variety of reasons:

  • CCC reduces atmospheric and oceanic CO2 to help fight global warming.
  • CCC provides non-fossil sources of carbon for use in necessary products, thus reducing reliance on fossil sources. Not only are fossil carbon sources bad for the environment, at some point, we would use them all up.
  • CCC provides revenue by enabling us to sell products. Revenue generation is often a great motivator for people to adopt new processes.

What can be made with captured carbon?

A wide array of products are already being made with captured carbon, including everyday products like clothing, hand sanitizer, and soda. One of the most environmentally friendly uses of CCC is incorporating captured carbon into building materials, namely concrete. Other uses include soap, alcohol, and even diamonds!

Where can I learn more?

Along with browsing the resources we have available on our website, there are many great free online resources, such as the CDR Primer.

You could also…

How can I get involved?

There are many ways to get involved in CCC!

If you are a University of Michigan Student, you could also join the GCI’s Student Association, a student organization that provides educational opportunities for students of all majors to learn about carbon capture.

We are so excited that we are able to be a part of your carbon capture and conversion journey! Please let us know if you have any questions or comments about our sticker, our website, or carbon capture and conversion in general!

Thanks for visiting our website!

*The Global CO2 Initiative recently switched away from using the phase “carbon capture and utilization” or “CCU” in favor of using the phrase “carbon capture and conversion” or “CCC” instead. “Carbon capture and utilization” suggests using captured carbon for some other purpose, including using it for enhanced oil recovery. The phrase “carbon capture and conversion,” on the other hand, explicitly indicates that carbon is converted to another product and not used for enhanced oil recovery. The new phrasing more accurately reflects our position on the best way to use captured carbon.