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Flue2Chem: Putting carbon waste to work for net zero


SEAC contributes LCA expertise to first-ever UK cross-sector collaboration aimed at converting industrial waste gases into chemicals that can be used to manufacture superior and more sustainable consumer products.

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Attempts to phase out the use of fossil carbon in the chemicals used in consumer products require identification of sustainable, renewable alternatives that can be deployed at scale.

The Flue2Chem Project brings together 15 industrial and academic players representing a £73 billion (€82.7 billion) UK sector and is spearheaded by Unilever and the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI). Having secured £2.68 million (€3.04 million) of funding from Innovate UK, the 2-year project is focusing on replacing fossil fuel stock with ‘captured’ carbon made from waste gases from foundation industries such as the production of metals, glass, paper, and chemicals.

The interdisciplinary project is investigating the whole supply chain from capturing carbon dioxide at its source, to converting it into chemicals, making surfactants from the chemicals and then using these surfactants in consumer products. SEAC skills in LCA and CO2 utilisation are being deployed in the work package which will quantify the techno-economic and life cycle environmental impacts of the system. Flue2Chem is hoping to demonstrate how the UK could cut around 15 – 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year to help the UK reach its net zero target. It is essential that evaluation of the sustainability of the proposed solutions is scientifically robust.

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