MIT: Putting carbon dioxide to good use

MIT engineer Angela Belcher is now taking a new approach that would not only remove carbon dioxide from the environment, but also turn it into something useful: solid carbonates that could be used for building construction.

“We want to capture carbon dioxide and not put it underground, but turn it into something that will be stable for hundreds of thousands of years,” says Belcher, the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy.

Turning Carbon Dioxide Into Bioplastics: 2 Birds With 1 Stone?

Scientists have been watching Licht’s progress closely. “It’s an interesting approach to using the sun for manufacturing and fuel production,” says Ellen Stechel, manager of concentrated solar technologies at Sandia National Laboratories. “But can it be cost-competitive?” Because of the cell’s simplicity, Licht says, the answer is yes. If he could construct STEP solar arrays dispersed across 4 percent of the Sahara, he would be able to convert 92 billion tons of carbon dioxide into solid carbon each year. At that rate, he could eliminate one-tenth of all the carbon dioxide released since the Industrial Revolution in a single year.

"Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas."