October 30, 2023

Borealis-backed SPIRIT program targets a breakthrough in CO2 direct capture

Borealis is collaborating with the University of Helsinki, Finland, as well as several other academic and industry partners, on a co-research project focusing on direct carbon dioxide (CO2) capture from the air.

Borealis is collaborating with the University of Helsinki, Finland, as well as several other academic and industry partners, on a co-research project focusing on direct carbon dioxide (CO2) capture from the air. This project is part of the Business Finland-funded SPIRIT Program (Sustainable Plastics Industry Transformation). Co-founded by Borealis, the program seeks to bring about a circular and net-zero transformation of the plastics value chain.

The two-year project, titled “Direct and reversible CO2 capture from air using superbases” stands at the convergence of societal and scientific interests. As global efforts to avert the worst consequences of climate change intensify, there is a pressing need to reduce levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, including through direct capture from the air.

For the plastics industry, CO2 capture is crucial to efforts to become carbon-neutral or even carbon negative. While there are existing commercial technologies, they fall short in terms of energy efficiency and are also primarily designed to capture CO2 from concentrated sources such as industrial plants, rather than from the air. The project team aims to address these gaps, exploring how CO2 can be reacted with strong organic bases to establish more effective techniques for direct and reversible capture from the air and, ultimately, assessing the potential for scaling the technology.

If successful, the project could provide a further benefit, beyond reducing atmospheric carbon: the chemicals industry requires carbon for the synthesis of many chemicals; atmospheric carbon could help the industry to move away from fossil-based sources. This perfectly aligns with Borealis’ circular cascade approach which sets out an integrated approach to decoupling the making of plastic from fossil-fuels through protecting and retaining precious carbon in the system.

Asset Transformation Manager Mikko Rönkä from Borealis says: “Securing competitive and sustainable feedstock is vital for the future of chemicals production. Novel CO2 capture opens endless possibilities for our industry and is fully in line with our overall ambition of reinventing essentials for sustainable living.”

For more information please view the SPIRIT website.

This news is also available in German language.

About SPIRIT
Borealis co-founded SPIRIT in Finland in February 2022. SPIRIT aims to drive the transformation of the plastics industry in Finland by means of three main activities: the replacement of conventional fossil fuel-based feedstocks with renewably sourced ones; the development of technologies and processes for the mechanical and chemical recycling of plastics; and the decarbonization of production operations through electrification as well as the use of hydrogen and renewable energy sources. As overall program leader, Borealis Finland coordinates R&D efforts in an ecosystem with a wide range of value chain partners. With a current targeted total R&D effort of 150 million euro (including funding of 70 million euro of the Finnish government) SPIRIT, after its inception, has already kicked off 11 partnership projects with 40 partners.

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