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Article

Why the Carbon-Neutral Energy Transition Will Imply the Use of Lots of Carbon

by 1,2,*, 3,4 and 1,5
1
ENGIE Research, 1 pl. Samuel de Champlain, Paris-la Défense, 92930 Paris, France
2
Department of Electromechanical, system and metal engineering, Ghent University, Technologiepark Zwijnaarde 131, 9052 Zwijnaarde, Belgium
3
Electrical Energy and Computer Architectures, K.U. Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
4
EnergyVille, Thor Park 8310, 3600 Genk, Belgium
5
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 204 E. Dean Keeton St., Stop C2200, Austin, TX 78712-1591, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 May 2020 / Revised: 5 June 2020 / Accepted: 6 June 2020 / Published: 10 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue CO2 Capture and Valorization)
This paper argues that electrification and gasification go hand in hand and are crucial on our pathway to a carbon-neutral energy transition. Hydrogen made from renewable electricity will be crucial on this path but is not sufficient, mainly due to its challenges related to its transport and storage. Thus, other ‘molecules’ will be needed on the pathway to a carbon-neutral energy transition. What at first sight seems a contradiction, this paper argues that carbon (C) will be an important and required chemical element in many of these molecules to achieve our carbon neutrality goal. Therefore, on top of the “Hydrogen Economy” we should work also towards a “Synthetic Hydrocarbon Economy”, implying the needs for lots of carbon as a carrier for hydrogen and embedded in products as a form of sequestration. It is crucial that this carbon is taken from the biosphere or recycled from biomass/biogas and not from fossil resources. Due to efficiency losses in capturing and converting atmospheric CO2, the production of renewable molecules will increase the overall demand for renewable energy drastically. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon capture and utilization; hydrogen; energy transition; renewable energy; green electricity; green gas carbon capture and utilization; hydrogen; energy transition; renewable energy; green electricity; green gas
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mertens, J.; Belmans, R.; Webber, M. Why the Carbon-Neutral Energy Transition Will Imply the Use of Lots of Carbon. C 2020, 6, 39. https://doi.org/10.3390/c6020039

AMA Style

Mertens J, Belmans R, Webber M. Why the Carbon-Neutral Energy Transition Will Imply the Use of Lots of Carbon. C. 2020; 6(2):39. https://doi.org/10.3390/c6020039

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mertens, Jan, Ronnie Belmans, and Michael Webber. 2020. "Why the Carbon-Neutral Energy Transition Will Imply the Use of Lots of Carbon" C 6, no. 2: 39. https://doi.org/10.3390/c6020039

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