Two new research projects funded for CO2 capture and reuse

(15-01-2018) Ghent University coordinates two projects for research into the capture and reuse of CO2, financed by the government.

Solar energy (vergrote weergave)

From waste to raw material

The development of efficient technologies for the use of CO2 as a raw material for chemical synthesis is one of the most important scientific challenges of the 21st century. Such technologies have the dual goal of reducing CO2 emissions on the one hand and producing high-quality chemicals with CO2 as the building block on the other.

This approach reduces the effects of climate change and at the same time creates new opportunities for the chemical industry.

Two new research projects

Two research projects focused on the development of new technologies to convert waste CO2 into high-quality chemicals are financed by the Flemish Government: the CATCO2RE project (2.5 million euros) is funded by the Flanders Scientific Research Fund (FWO), and the CO2PERATE project (2.6 million euros) by the Agency Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) with the support of Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for chemistry and plastics.

This support is an important milestone for the development of advanced expertise in Flanders concerning the capture and reuse of CO2. It is expected that these projects will contribute to reducing the impact of human activities on the environment.

Both projects are coordinated by Ghent University and carried out by multidisciplinary teams of scientists from various Flemish research institutions. CATCO2RE is a collaboration between UGent, KULeuven, VUB and VITO, while CO2PERATE is a collaboration between UGent, UAntwerp, KULeuven, VITO and the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant.

CATCO2RE: CO2 to methane and methanol

The specific goal of CATCO2RE is to develop processes for the conversion of CO2 to methane and methanol driven by solar energy, through the smart integration of new developments in the production of solar hydrogen with catalyst design and advanced separation technologies.

The integrated approach of CATCO2RE reduces operational and capital costs and makes CO2-to-methanol factories not only economically more competitive, but also more sustainable.

CO2PERATE: CO2 to formic acid

The CO2PERATE project focuses on the development of catalytic technologies for the conversion of CO2 to formic acid driven by renewable electricity. Formic acid is an interesting building block for the bio-synthetic production of high-grade chemicals and for the chemical industry, or can be used as an energy carrier.

The processes developed within CO2PERATE thus provide for grid stability and the integration of renewable electricity production with the chemical industry.

Three possible uses for CO2

With the launch of both projects, the Flemish Government is giving the development of a technology platform for the catalytic reduction of CO2 a great boost. The focus here is on the three possible routes for CO2 use:

  1. CO2-neutral fuels and chemicals
  2. CO2-based integration of renewable electricity production with the chemical industry
  3. use of CO2 as a cost-efficient C1 building block.

Within CO2PERATE, the decision support framework is also developed to select the best available technology in a specific techno-economic context. The new business models that emerge from research into CO2 use within CATCO2RE and CO2PERATE will therefore contribute to the sustainable economic growth of the Flemish circular economy.


Elisabeth Delbeke
09 331 17 51

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