The main problem scientists have faced so far is the unreactiveness of CO2, it being a stable compound that generally doesn't do much chemically.
In Germany the company Bayer has tried to turn carbon dioxide into a chemical feedstock to make plastics, or specifically polyurethane polymers. The interesting thing here is that these polymers are generally used for insulation of houses, meaning that they will reduce the amount of CO2 emitted in two ways: by using it up during production, and by providing better insulation, reducing loss of energy from heating etc.
|Bayer MaterialScience teamed up with the CAT Catalytic Center in Aachen, Germany, to try and turn CO2 into polyol feedstocks for polyurethane plastics. (Credit: BAYER MATERIALSCIENCE)|
Another, this time US based company, called Phycal, has built an algae biofuel plant. The aim is to feed the algae CO2 and receive oil produced by the plants. Phycal produces its oil by introducing algae initially grown in isolation into ponds. The ponds contain nutrients and have waste CO2 injected into them at a rate set to maintain a steady pH and optimal algal growth rate. They are then fed sugars, and start producing oils at a very fast rate. This then makes it easy to take out the oil.
says Phycal's Jeff Bargiel
'Hands down, algae is the most productive oil crop on Earth on a per-area basis. The US Department of Energy says that soybean crops produce 48 gallons of oil per acre per year, he notes, while algae could produce 1000-6500 gallons per acre per year.'
A remarkable efficiency, especially nowadays when really most countries can't afford to waste any farmable space, that could be used for food production.
Opinions? Also general question: What do you think about climate change/global warming. Man made or natural? It's kinda related, and I'm curious.