TNO aims to commission a demonstration plant by 2030 that will make plastics from CO2 in a sustainable way.
Carbon is everywhere in our daily lives, including energy, building materials, food, textiles and chemicals. Currently, we consume 550 megatons(1) of carbon-based materials and energy. Of this, nearly 88% comes from fossil resources and 12% consists of CO2, recycling and bio-carbon sources. Carbon use is expected to double to 1,150 megatons by 2050.
Rapidly reducing CO2 emissions to limit further global warming is the biggest challenge for this century. We can achieve this by no longer using coal, oil and natural gas as energy sources. In some industrial processes, but also in energy recovery from non-recyclable waste streams, it is sometimes difficult to reduce CO2 emissions quickly. In that case, it is also possible to capture the CO2 and store it in empty gas fields or use it as a new raw material. Twence is committed to both options.
Dimethyl ether (DME) is a still relatively unused gas, mainly used as a propellant in hairspray. It has the potential to replace diesel and LPG as a fuel for homes and SMEs or agricultural businesses that are not connected to the natural gas grid. In Europe alone, this is a huge market. TNO has developed a method to produce DME from CO2 very efficiently and cheaply. An important step from fossil to renewable and making carbon circular.
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