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Why carbon capture technologies are set to soar

Three teens holding sign that reads "CO2 is in the air"
Adrian Balasoiu/Unsplash
Dec 17, 2022 By WGSN Insider

Discover the emerging carbon capture technologies as awareness of climate warming heats up.

A recent report by The Global Carbon Budget has warned that global CO2 emissions are tracking to rise about 1% this year, accelerating climate harm. Carbon capture technologies could help industries mitigate this in the future. Interest is growing, with carbon capture searches dramatically peaking as Tesla CEO Elon Musk launched a $100m prize for the best solution in this space.

Graph of carbon capture search index
WGSN Original Image

The carbontech opportunity

“Climate emergency, environmental legislation and market forces are fuelling industry interest in carbon capture. Leading industry players are partnering up with carbontech innovators to reduce emissions while providing consumers with carbon-negative products,” says Helen Palmer, WGSN’s Head of Materials, Textiles & Knit.

How are these carbontech innovators helping to reduce emissions? They’re turning CO2 and methane emissions from industrial exhaust or ambient air molecules into useful materials and products using carbon capture and utilisation.

Cutout of CO2-producing factories atop light switch
Jasmin Sessler/Unsplash

Carbon capture technologies

Chicago firm LanzaTech feeds the waste gas from factory pollution to bacteria before it enters the air, turning the resulting ethanol into a PET polyester ingredient. It has worked with Zara and Lululemon to pilot the synthetic fibre in proof-of-concept apparel and active capsule ranges.

Finland’s Solar Foods also uses microbes to turn factory CO2 into Solein, its meat substitute. CO2 is injected into a fermentation tank with hydrogen and nutrients, and the feeding bacteria create a protein, which when processed into powder resembles dried soy. The tech could produce future food while using a fraction of the land and resources used by traditional agriculture.

Montreal-based Carbicrete has developed a carbon capture concrete which relies on captured industrial emissions, but aims to draw CO2 from the atmosphere via direct air capture (DAC) to make carbon-negative concrete.

Cutout paper illustrations of assorted bacteria on green background

How you can action this

Identify where carbon capture technology sits within your carbon reduction strategy, and empower your supply chain to use this technology in its own facilities to accelerate this tech to scale.

WGSN subscribers can read the full Sustainability Bulletin: December 2022 for a round-up of the key sustainability happenings this month. Alternatively, download WGSN’s White Paper: Create Better here.

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