A circular carbon economy

Over the past century, the use of fossil resources has enabled technological and industrial advancements that have led to transformative improvements to our standards of living. The legacy of these advancements, however, is the release of CO2 into our atmosphere at a massive scale, impacting our climate and ecosystems. To mitigate these effects and transition to a society that is not reliant on limited fossil resources, we envision the use of CO2 from air or point sources as a carbon feedstock. By recycling CO2 into fuels, chemicals, or materials, we can achieve a circular carbon economy. Integration of CO2 capture and conversion, or Reactive Capture of CO2 (RCC), would vastly improve the overall efficiency and cost from CO2 source-to-products. Forming valuable products from CO2 also provides an economic incentive for carbon-neutral or negative processes.

Advance the foundational science and define key integration parameters

The Center for Closing the Carbon Cycle (4C) will advance the foundational science and define key integration parameters for RCC. Much of the research in either CO2 capture or pure CO2 conversion is not translatable for RCC processes. 4C is unique because it combines expertise on CO2 capture and catalytic valorization in center-wide collaborations. 4C will establish guidelines for CO2 capture from dilute and dirty streams and define how captured CO2 can most effectively be utilized. The ultimate goal is to advance the understanding of sorbents and catalysts so they can be co-designed to work cooperatively to achieve more active, efficient, and durable systems for RCC than if the two goals were pursued independently.