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How soon could carbon capture technology solve industry CO₂ shortages?

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The recent spike in natural gas prices has closed many plants that make fertiliser in the UK – sending a shockwave through lots of other industries.

This is because ammonia fertilisers are made from nitrogen and hydrogen, and the latter comes from breaking down natural gas – a process which gives off carbon dioxide as a byproduct. It is this CO₂ that is then taken up and used in different industries, from carbonating soft drinks to euthanising livestock. In its solid form, known as cardice, CO₂ can even be used to transport and store temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals – including the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

The scarcity of CO₂ has caused havoc in UK supply chains, threatening shortages of meat, alcohol and fizzy drinks.

It may seem surprising to read that CO₂ – the greenhouse gas heating our world – also keeps certain essential industries functioning. How can there be a shortage of something we’re desperately trying to emit less of? Couldn’t we just pull it down from the atmosphere and pump it into factories where it could be put to use?

The problem is that the CO₂ used in industry comes from sources that are a well-established part of a complex supply chain. This CO₂........

© The Conversation

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