Center for Climate and Energy Decision Making

Carbon Capture and Utilization Won’t Mitigate Global Warming, Study Finds

Edward S. Rubin, professor and director, Center for Energy and Environmental Studies at Carnegie Mellon University, co-authored a study published by the journal Energy and Environmental Science on the potential of CO2 conversion to fuels, finding that carbon capture and utilization (CCU) has little potential to mitigate climate change, and could worsen the problem.

The CCU chemical process, for example, collects CO2 emitted by a factory and converts it into a liquid fuel that could be used for transportation.

CCU, however, “has severe limitations as a mitigation measure or cost-effective strategy for reducing CO2 emissions,” Rubin’s analysis shows.

CCU could work if carbon-free sources, such as wind and solar, are used as energy to manufacture the fuel. “For that reason, proponents of CCU assume that all the energy needed is supplied by renewable energy,” Rubin said.