Mitsubishi Chemical and sixteen other Japanese companies are leading efforts to capture CO2 emissions and turn them into useful fuels and materials.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, the companies are hoping their endeavor will help mitigate the damage caused to the environment by the indiscriminate use of fossil fuels.
While governments and investors are gradually shunning fossil fuel energy and adopting renewable energy sources, coal-fired power plants still remain an integral part of global electricity supply market.
Mitsubishi Chemical, power plant operator J-Power, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and industrial groups IHI and Kawasaki Heavy Industries are jointly planning to launch a new fund named the ‘Carbon Recycle Fund’ to support the development of CO2 recycling technology.
According to the Nikkei, the fund’s initial capital of about $945,000 will be enlarged by private-sector investment and bank loans.
The companies are already engaged in path-breaking research that could enable them to use captured CO2 for producing synthetic fibers or fortify concrete.
Carbon capture and use differs from collecting CO2 and storing it underground. notes Nikkei Asian Review.
According to a 2018 McKinsey report, wide-scale use of captured CO2 will be necessary to help reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.
However, technological and cost hurdles will have to be first met, contends the McKinsey report:
“Transforming the captured gas into industrial products typically requires a lot of energy. Another challenge is that oil remains a highly cost-effective industrial feedstock.”
The new carbon recycling fund will provide money for companies and researchers working mainly on ways to reduce the cost of CO2 recycling.
According to the Nikkei, the investors will share the results of this work to further develop recycling technology and processes.
The Japanese initiative comes as the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry prepares to host its first international conference on Carbon Recycling in September.
Fossil fuels account for roughly 60% of global electricity generation, with coal making up about 40% the total.
Under the Paris climate accord, nations have worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The rise of environmental, social and governance investing have also added momentum to the shifting away from fossil fuels.
Image and content: Hortidaily/Nikkei Asian Review