CO2 Conversion

From harmful exhaust gas to a resource - CO2 as a valuable raw material

Counteracting global warming and meeting the European Union's ambitious climate targets (reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050) is a matter of urgency. Permanent CO2 reduction implies actively returning the emitted CO2 to a closed CO2 cycle. This is done by using that CO2 to produce renewable fuels or alcohols. Ideally, this would result in no "new CO2" being released into the atmosphere. Resources needed for this, besides CO2, are water and electricity from renewable sources (wind, hydro or solar power). The best way to capture and convert CO2 is directly at industrial sites. This opens up exciting opportunities to establish energy- and cost-efficient processes for CO2 conversion. This technology can reduce dependence on fossil fuels - which is particularly relevant in times of resource scarcity.

The Sparkling Science project "CO2 Conversion" will develop solutions for harnessing CO2, involving students from our partner schools and other Citizen Scientists. Citizen Scientists are actively involved in the project through regular workshops. Both partner schools will implement the project-specific contents in the course of their respective curricula. For example, the students of the HTL Kramsach will provide concepts for CO2 conversion under the guidance of their teachers and involved scientists, using concrete case studies from industry.
The focus is on process engineering requirements, i.e. chemical conversions that would be conceivable on a laboratory scale for CO2 utilization are to be examined with regard to their applicability on a large scale. In this context, it must be clarified how a large-scale reactor must be constructed in order to heat up and convert the reacting gases sufficiently quickly. As a basis, the students, whose focus is chemical engineering, are building a small-scale experimental plant at the HTL. This will allow them to calculate the costs of building and operating such plants. The know-how of the students of the HTL Bau und Design in the field of graphic and communication design is useful to present project results to the public: A supervised project homepage as well as diploma theses are planned, from which multi-layered disseminations (comics, graphic novels, short films, picture books or games), which present the topic in an understandable and appealing way, will emerge. Project results and elaborated materials will be presented to a broad public in the course of a culminating exhibition.

The project should stimulate a realization of pilot plants in the domestic industry and contribute to a rethinking and a change. In addition, as many people as possible are to be actively involved on the way to a CO2-neutral future. 
(Photocredit © Privat)