Carbon utilization study

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Carbon captured from stationary emission sources or from the air can be used to make fuels, chemicals, plastics, and concrete. The latest IDTechEx report, "Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Utilization 2022-2042: Technologies, Market Forecasts, and Players", analyzes the viability of several of these utilization pathways. Carbontech companies such as LanzaTech, CarbonCure, and Liquid Wind report interest in their solutions, even in the absence of strong regulatory incentives (e.g., carbon price, carbon tax).

IDTechEx finds that after a slow but steady progress during this decade, the CO2U market will likely grow rapidly from the 2030s onwards to surpass $285 billion by 2042, driven by rising climate commitments and a favorable regulatory framework. The market is set to become more diverse as it evolves, with applications such as CO2-derived construction products (e.g., concrete and aggregates) gaining market share due to its helpful thermodynamics and ability to sequester CO2 permanently.


CO2 utilization prospects are diverse, with approaches such as thermochemical, electrochemical, photochemical, microbially-mediated, and mineralization. As CO2 is a thermodynamically stable molecule, many of these routes require significant amounts of energy, catalysts, integrated processes, or direct utilization of hydrogen. Use-cases include enhanced oil recovery, building materials, liquid and gaseous fuels, polymers, chemicals, and in biological yield-boosting (in crop greenhouses, algae, and fermentation).