Startups strive to recycle emissions for ‘new carbon economy’

(Eco Business, 31 May 2019) Converting CO2 into new materials has been a niche industry so far, and startups are innovating ways for nascent solutions to go commercial.

Jennifer Holmgren, chief executive of carbon recycling firm LanzaTech, explained modestly how the Chicago-based startup had cut multi-million-dollar deals on four continents, including in China, aimed at helping curb climate change and air pollution.

At the Jingtang Steel Mill in Heibei province, the company uses bacteria to convert waste gases into ethanol for use in cleaner fuel, capturing carbon so that it is not released into the atmosphere as planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2).

“It’s just like using sugar fermentation—like you do making beer,” said Holmgren. “The chemistry takes a couple of seconds.”

Like her, scores of entrepreneurs have been wracking their brains to move beyond the most common way to reuse waste CO2—pumping it into the ground to extract oil—and deploy it instead to make more planet-friendly materials.

Keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere via carbon capture and storage (CCS) is viewed by many scientists as necessary to limit global warming to the lower target of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7F) set in the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

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Eco Business, 31 May 2019: Startups strive to recycle emissions for ‘new carbon economy’