Innovation Anthology

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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #684
Program Date: 04/28/2015
Program Category: Alberta, Biotechnology, Engineering, Environment, Nanotechnology

Age of Biological Systems: Carbon Capture and Conversion

Ingenuity Lab at the University of Alberta is developing a fix for excess emissions of carbon dioxide. 


The group has replicated the biological process of  photosynthesis that plants use to fix carbon.


Dr. Carlo Montemagno is Ingenuity Lab's director.  As he explains, his team has created a reactor that  captures carbon  dioxide and fixes it into a solid structure.  It can then be transformed into other products like drop-in chemicals.



DR. CARLO MONTEMAGNO:    So we've identified over 40 different drop-in chemicals that we can manufacture.   Right now we're focused on using this technology in  high CO2 streams, basically exhaust gas out of power plants and other sorts of industrial operations.    But if we're able to drive the cost down, you could easily use solar energy and actually make CO2 farms in which you are using sunlight to to capture CO2 and produce valuable added products and you'd be farming the CO2 out of the atmosphere directly. 



Some of these drop in chemicals include a food additive called manitol.  There's ethylene glycol for antifreeze, and a number of precursors for plastics.


Thanks today to INGENUITY LAB





Dr. Carlo Montemagno, Director, Ingenuity Lab

Dr. Carlo Montemagno, Director, Ingenuity Lab


  • Ingenuity Lab
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