Acceptability of Products Containing Captured CO2: The Role of Trust, Risk Perceptions, and Product Framing

Advancements in engineering and materials science are facilitating the creation of marketable products out of captured atmospheric carbon dioxide, e.g., synthetic fuel, plastics, mattress and furniture foam, and concrete – a process known as carbon capture and utilization (CCU). 

Public perception is an important component of the commercialization of these products: without the trust, support, and buy-in of end users, CCU may not achieve the level of commercial success that is necessary to meet market- and climate-related goals. However, very little work has examined how the public perceives these products, and no empirical study, to our knowledge, has specifically examined perceptions of CCU within the US.

To fill this gap, we propose a mixed methods study (qualitative focus groups and a quantitative nationally-representative survey) to identify the factors that contribute to or erode support for CCU products and their production. Using our previous research on carbon dioxide reduction technologies as a framework, the broad research questions we will address are: 

  1. What is the level of public interest, awareness, and knowledge of carbon capture and utilization and resultant end products?
  2. What aspects of the product or process affect acceptance and use of products containing captured atmospheric carbon?
  3. How do person-level factors (e.g., political ideology) affect support for CCU and associated products?

Principle Investigators: K.T. Raimi (Ford School of Public Policy), K.S. Wolske (University of Chicago), P.S. Hart (Department of Communication and Media) & V. Campbell-Arvai (School for Environment & Sustainability)

Read our research projects to learn more about our innovative solutions.