Hidden pitfalls of the energy transition: a study on future Carbon Dioxide dependency

The energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is in full progress. This transition is inevitable due to great dependency on fossil fuels and its consequences such as climate change and economic instability. When fossil fuels are burned they emit water, Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Nitrogen and Sulfur oxides among others. CO2 is one of the main greenhouses gasses and approximately 80% of its emissions are related to fossil fuels.

CO2 as a raw material has a great potential. The current potential CO2 uptake is 70 times lower that the emissions in 2017. However, as society moves away from fossil materials, it might be expected that more carbon based goods be produced from CO2. In Fig. 1 are mentioned some examples.


An extreme reduction of CO2 emissions might be expected. Only a few point sources independent of fossil materials would emit non-fossil CO2 as a waste stream. Fig. 2 shows the possible change in the sources of CO2.



As the energy transition evolves, it is unknown how much CO2 will be needed and if the supply will be enough. The general objective of this research is to study the hidden pitfalls for the role of CO2 in the energy transition in the years 2019, 2030, and 2050. This study will answer the next question: What could be the role of CO2 for the production of carbon based goods as the energy transition becomes stronger?

To answer this question four steps are required:

  • Case study on methanol production based on CO2 as an overview of the possibilities and opportunities of using non-fossil CO2.
  • Identify the possible applications and demand of CO2 for carbon based goods production
  • Identify and quantify the possible point sources of non-fossil CO2
  • Match the potential demand and supply of non-fossil CO2