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Carbon Dioxide: Closing the Loop on the Ultimate Raw Material

Honored Contributor
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Organizer: Joseph Sabol, Chemical Consultant

This symposium is about industrially viable processes to utilize carbon dioxide as a raw material feedstock (as opposed to current venting to the atmosphere or deep-well injection.) Attendees can expect to learn how the barriers of reducing or otherwise incorporating carbon dioxide into process streams were overcome. Traditional waste carbon dioxide can be converted into useful chemicals and fuels, at a profit to society. These chemicals include those to produce fuels, pharmaceuticals, and bio-polymers.

Our session will include discussions and presentations from respected subject matter experts from around the world:

Schwan Hosseiny, Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics in Stuttgart, Germany will discuss LOTERCO2M, which splits water in a single electrochemical membrane reactor, and directly provides protons to be used with carbon dioxide to form methanol. Hydrogen, generally used with carbon monoxide in the industrial Fischer-Tropsch process to produce liquid hydrocarbons, is not needed. LOTERCO2M, using water, carbondioxide, and ideally renewable electricity, is less complex and more economical than current processes to produce liquid hydrocarbons. Challenges of characterization of the membrane materials and electrode assemblies in the single electrochemical membrane reactor will be presented.

Sergey Melnikov, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems in Magdeburg, Germany will discuss the liquid-structure properties of various alkanolamines, which are currently used to capture carbon dioxide in flue gas streams. The molecular engineering of novel high-performance biogas upgrading alkanolamine compounds requires detailed information about their properties in mixed solution, including not only the thermodynamics and chemical reactivity, but also the liquid structure properties, the dynamics of carbon dioxide diffusion, and the kinetics of interactions in complex ternary solutions. Molecular simulation techniques, useful tools to investigate molecular binding for further technological applications, will also be presented.

Gregory Rorrer, Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University will discuss diatom algae as a platform organism for renewable chemical production. Genera Cyclotella and Thalassiosira produce a unique bio-product, a nanofiber composed of an N-acetyl glucosamine biopolymer, single rigid rods of ~ 50 nm in diameter and 100 mm in length. These nanofibers have a wide variety of biomedical material applications and are readily converted to glucoamine, a widely used nutraceutical. Development of a closed photobioreactor to measure the capture of carbon dioxide by growing cells with inlet and outlet concentrations vs. time, aeration, and light and dark cycles. Mass transfer strategies were developed to dynamically maximize carbon dioxide capture and biomass accumulation, demonstrating how photosynthetic systems can be optimized through an engineering approach to produce carbon-based products.

Aubrey Paris, Department of Chemistry and Institute on Science for Global Policy, at Princeton University will discuss new alloy and intermetallic catalysts that have been shown to facilitate carbon-carbon bond formation during carbon dioxide electro-reduction. This makes possible the generation of highly profitable compounds, such as oxalate, with promising catalyst stability and over potential requirements. Attendees will be walked through the process of catalyst discovery, including how a new material is characterized, optimized for peak performance, and tested to gain insight into its activity. Bimetallic catalysts, with newly discovered surface oxides, may play an important role in oxalate formation, which competes with hydrogen production. The mechanism for the formation of carbon-carbon bonds that circumvents the generation of a carbon dioxide radical anion intermediate, and the elimination of nonaqueous solvents, can directly lead to commercial production of glycols and other multi-carbon species.

We hope you will join us for this in-depth symposium. Hope to see you there!


This session will take place at the 23rd Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference/9th International Conference on Green & Sustainable Chemistry on Wednesday, June 12 from 9:45 AM to 12:30 PM at the Town Center, Hyatt Regency Reston, VA.