CO2 valorization: a scientific and societal challenge
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main greenhouse gas emitted through human activities. The increase of CO2 emissions results is the lead cause of global warming that we are witnessing with increasing urgency. A concrete solution, to mitigate climate change as much as possible, is to close the carbon cycle by either CO2 capture and storage or CO2 capture and utilization (CCU). By bringing together several disciplines, CO2Challenge intends to make a significant contribution to the CCU strategy and also aims to participate in the development of a circular economy that reconciles the economic, social and environmental impact of human activities.

Capturing and utilizing atmospheric CO2 to produce fuels or commodity chemicals based on decarbonized energy sources represents a real scientific challenge. CO2Challenge proposes an approach that will use innovative and relevant technologies based on the know-how and expertise present at UGA’s research laboratories, with an interdisciplinary team spanning biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, socio-economic, socio-technological and human and social sciences. CO2Challenge will lead to disruptive solutions and emerging advanced technology pilots thanks to a shared vision of scientists with diverse expertise. The integration of social scientists (economy, sociology) in CO2Challenge will strengthen the knowledge of the political and economic issues associated with CO2 capture, as well as the future trends in industrial and environmental policies. A dynamic of interdisciplinary discussions will allow the emergence and consolidation of shared anticipations about the risks and opportunities associated with the various technologies and will contribute to the definition of resilient innovation trajectories.

The project is structured in four work packages (WPs) to meet its ambitious aims. The first three are devoted to the scientific aspect, while the fourth is related to the management and organization of the project. WP1 concerns the proof-of-concept disruptive technologies combining CO2 capture and conversion based on the use of renewable energies that will fit within the scope of a realistic socio-technical vision for large-scale implementation of technologies. WP2 will focus on innovative strategies for the transformation of CO2 into chemicals of interest, based on bio-inspired catalysts containing earth-abundant, cheap and non-toxic metals, with optimal performance, and adapted to photo-or electro-catalytic devices with minimal environmental impact thanks to their evaluation throughlife cycle assessment at anearly-stage of their development. Finally, WP3 will consider the scientific and technological bottlenecks that should be overcome in the scale-up of near mature technologies based on microalgaeor bacteria able to produce biofuels or on CO2 (co-)electrolyzers, and identify public policies that can be leveraged to implement the CCU technologies, thereby contributing to the overall societal benefit. The last work package (WP4) will focus on the follow-up of the scientific project, and will ensure the implementation of the dissemination and valorization of results, andof the training program. An integral part of this effort will be to initiate and strengthen international collaborations as well as collaborations with industry.

The organization and governance of the CO2Challenge consortium, composed of 13 laboratories, involving 5 UGA clusters, 4 LabEx, the EUR-CBH and industrial partners must allow for optimal synergy in order to achieve the targeted scientific and cross-sectoral objectives of the project.This project, as it has been conceived, will be a springboard to strengthen interactions with the local industrial players (VICAT, Air Liquide, etc.), and will place UGA at the fore front of the national and European scene with regard to closing the carbon cycle. CO2Challenge (and through this project, UGA) also aspires to impact the national debate on the nexus between climate change and the energy sector as well as on fiscal policies to promote such green technologies for a circular economy.

Porteurs scientifiques du projet :
Carole Duboc - DCM
Thomas Reverdy - PACTE
Véronique Blandin - DCM
Vincent Artero - IRIG (CEA)

Laboratoires partenaires : CERAG, DCM, GAEL, G-SCOP, ISTerre, LCBM, LEPMI, LiPhy, LITEN, LPCV, MEM, PACTE, Symmes

Mis à jour le 25 janvier 2023