CO2 can be captured before it's released into the atmosphere, when it's vented from industrial sources or power plants. It can also be filtered from the air using an innovative technology called Direct Air Capture. Just picture a giant ventilator that absorbs carbon from the atmosphere.
The CO2 is then isolated, compressed and pumped into a reactor. Solid powder feed stock, a type of 'fly ash', is added. The result is a CO2-embedded fly ash – a carbon powder – which is ready for further processing.
This carbon powder now becomes the basis for the molded carbon beads. The CO2 remains stable on the beads when broken, submerged underwater, and even when heated up to 600 degrees Celsius... so pretty much permanently.
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Scientists and engineers have developed some pretty smart solutions. They've found ways to prevent CO2 from being emitted, as well as ways to absorb CO2 that has already made its way into the atmosphere.
But what happens to the CO2 once it has been captured? How can we make sure it is locked up permanently, or can we even put it to productive use?
Storing CO2 underground is a great way to trap the CO2, preventing it from being emitted into the atmosphere again. More recently, another alternative has started to attract attention worldwide: Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU). CCU transforms the CO2 into products such as plastics, building materials, chemicals, fuels… or carbon beads – turning CO2 into a renewable resource.