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Peter Styring

Peter Styring

Thu, Nov. 7, 2019, 4:30pm
Edward C Taylor Auditorium, Frick B02
Host: Andy Bocarsly


The carbon cycle is imbalanced as a consequence of rapid industrialisation over the past century. Historically carbon dioxide was emitted through both natural and some anthropogenic activity. This CO2 was captured effectively by plants to create a balanced system. Flora and fauna were eventually converted to fossil oil and gas over geological timescales but remained locked underground. The industrial revolution found ways to recover these hydrocarbons and exploit their high energy density and rich chemical diversity to produce fuels and chemicals. We are now in a situation where emissions need to be mitigated and indeed new sources of sustainable carbon discovered that do not add to emissions and so climate change.
CO2 utilisation can be regarded as a shortened carbon cycle, using catalysts and process technologies to create chemicals from CO2 not over millions of years but in minutes and hours. Just some of the possible products ae shown in the figure.

This talk will consider some of the processes that are showing highest potential in the campaign to mitigate climate change and create a renaissance in the chemicals and fuels industries. In particular the talk will look at mobility fuels and construction materials which have the potential for highest volume and maximum profitable income.