Steel mills in Germany continue to emit large quantities of the climate-damaging gas CO2 and thus make a decisive contribution to climate change. Although there are many by-products of steel production that can nowadays be reused or put to other uses, the CO2 emissions are still unavoidable.
One way of improving the carbon footprint of steel mills is through CO2 recycling. In this process, CO2 is not regarded as a useless waste product but is used as a raw material for chemical products.
In a recent article published in bild der wissenschaft, Hartmut Netz looks at the research behind CO2 recycling and sets out the possibilities for this development. Among others, he spoke with Prof. Leitner, head of the 'Molecular Catalysis' department at MPI CEC, who sees the reuse of CO2 as a great opportunity for Germany.
The article describes how CO2 can be used as a direct component for chemical products. It explains the process that Leitner developed with the chemical company Covestro to produce the plastic Cardyon from industrial waste gases. Cardyon consists of 20% CO2 and can be processed into foam, textile fibers or binders.
The decisive role played by catalysts and the use of "green electricity" is explained by the author on the basis of research by Prof. Leitner and his team.
The article by Hartmut Netz is unfortunately only available in German and can be found in bild der Wissenschaft, January 2021 issue.