Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Twelve

Making chemicals, materials, and fuels from captured CO2


A novel process delivers efficient carbon capture that also produces the raw materials for new products

Spotted: Achieving net zero is going to require changes in almost every aspect of manufacturing. According to research from Columbia University’s SIPA Centre on Global Energy Policy, using recycled CO2 – captured from an industrial source or the ambient air – in the production of chemicals, materials, and fuels could abate 6.8 gigatonnes of CO2 a year. One company making great strides in this area is Twelve.

Twelve uses carbon transformation technology to convert captured CO2 into products traditionally made from fossil fuels. In a process that the company terms “industrial photosynthesis”, captured CO2, water, and renewable energy are used to make new, useful carbon-based products.

At the centre of the technology is a highly efficient CO2-reducing catalyst. Using this, the company has developed a “plug-and-play” reactor, which can be dropped into existing industrial systems to capture carbon and change it into complex hydrocarbons. These can then be used as the building blocks of new products, including cost-competitive chemicals and fuels that can be easily incorporated into existing supply chains.

The startup is already partnering with companies including Mercedes-Benz, Procter & Gamble, Shopify, NASA, and the US Air Force to reduce emissions and create new ‘CO2Made’ products. These include a line of sunglasses, made in partnership with sustainable fashion brand Pangaia, and a carbon-neutral sustainable aviation fuel called E-Jet. The company recently broke ground on its first E-Jet fuel production facility.

Carbon capture remains a promising but somewhat controversial prospect. However, new advances that Springwise has spotted in the archive, including projects to capture carbon from cooling towers and to reuse anaesthetic gases, are working to improve this technology.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



Download PDF