In Addition to GHG Curbs, Air Board Considers Reuse

By Published On: September 7, 2007

Carbon dioxide is a valued resource that can and should be recycled, Sandia National Laboratories’ chemical sciences deputy director said during a California Air Resources Board committee hearing on September 6 at Stanford University. The oxymoron is that the Air Board is charged with getting rid of as much CO2 as possible due to the state’s greenhouse gas reduction law, AB 32. “I don’t think [re-using carbon dioxide] is on many people’s plates right now, but I think it’s intriguing,” Sandia’s Andrew McIlroy said during the hearing of the CARB’s Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee. “This is something that’s flown under the radar in the United States, but it’s something the world is looking at quite seriously,” he said. McIlroy said that Japan and the European Union are currently exploring the development of technology to reverse the process that creates CO2, but the United States is still at least five years away from developing such technology. Among the proposed carbon dioxide mitigation strategies cited by McIlroy are ones to: – Reduce or eliminate CO2 production by requiring new technology and infrastructure for energy production. – Capture and sequester CO2 by treating it as waste. One problem, however, would be the large volumes, which would be difficult to store. – Add CO2 recycling to the menu of GHG mitigation activities. – Support research on CO2 recycling. – Encourage private sector investments. “A broad portfolio” of fundamental research is needed to create efficient technology options with potential for large-scale impact, said Sally Benson, executive director of Stanford University’s Global Climate and Energy Project. The Technology Advancement Advisory Committee is reviewing and prioritizing various proposals for creating industry incentives for compliance with the California Global Warming Solutions Act, including potential funding sources. The committee will submit a written report to the California Air Resources Board in January, conveying its recommendations. At that time, the committee is set to discuss whether continued deliberations are appropriate, and, if so, their nature.

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