CHENNAI: In 20 years, by using all means we can recycle up to one-fourth of the emitted carbon dioxide, says Professor Michele Aresta from Department of Chemistry, the University of Bari in Italy and an expert in carbon dioxide utilisation. He is in the city for taking a two-week course on ‘Science and Technology in CO2 conversion’ under the central government’s Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) scheme to Anna University students.
“We extract fossil carbon and we use it as a source of energy or for making chemicals. When we use these fuels and chemicals CO2 is released to the atmosphere. We are aiming to take the ‘spent carbon’ from industrial sources and atmosphere and convert it into chemicals and fuels,” he said. There are two benefits in recycling contagious CO2 as we can still keep the fossil carbon under the ground and also we can avoid CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere, he explained.
There are some applications which are ready at the industry level like the synthesis of polymers which include carbon dioxide. “We can produce Methane which can be used in cars and Methanol which can be the base for chemicals and we can also produce microalgae which can be used as biofuel,” Professor Aresta said. While admitting that it will take the time to develop the technologies he said, “The reduction of 20 per cent of carbon emissions by 2020 will be very difficult. Maybe 2050 is the realistic target.”
Carbon recycling also needs to be complemented with the perennial use of renewable energies like solar, wind and geothermal energy. “It can bring down the fossil carbon extracted and used. If we combine it together, in 20 years from now the emission of greenhouse gases can be reduced up to one-third of what is being emitted now,” he added. During the two-week course, he will cover issues like sources of carbon dioxide, the emissions and the separation of carbon dioxide and potential uses of CO2 including the prospective applications like what we can do twenty years from now and what presently available.
Students and faculty members from Anna University, students from IIT Madras and students from Calicut University are attending this course. The course which is organised by Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation Research in Anna University will go on until November 18....