But what if we could kill two birds with one stone by capturing the CO2 and converting some of it back into fuel? The EU-funded ELCAT (Electrocatalytic Gas-Phase Conversion of CO2 in Confined Catalysts) project has proven the feasibility of a technique which could do exactly that. Although the technology is still in the early phases of development, the project partners hope it will be ready for application in around 10 years, when it could help to cut global CO2 emissions by 5 %. This would give a significant boost to EU targets to cut CO2 emissions by 20 % by 2020.
Meanwhile, ELCAT is already attracting interest from around the world, and the technology it is using is one of just 10 technologies to have been nominated for the USD 25 million (EUR 15.7 million) Virgin Earth Challenge award. Set up by former US Vice President Al Gore and British entrepreneur Richard Branson, the prize will go to the first scientists to come up with ‘a commercially viable design which results in the removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases so as to contribute materially to the stability of Earth’s climate’.READ MORE