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Ambio. 2016 Jan;45 Suppl 1:S5-14. doi: 10.1007/s13280-015-0728-7.

Closing the carbon cycle through rational use of carbon-based fuels.

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UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.


In this paper, a brief overview is presented of natural gas as a fuel resource with subsequent carbon capture and re-use as a means to facilitate reduction and eventual elimination of man-made carbon emissions. A particular focus is shale gas and, to a lesser extent, methane hydrates, with the former believed to provide the most reasonable alternative as a transitional fuel toward a low-carbon future. An emphasis is placed on the gradual elimination of fossil resource usage as a fuel over the coming 35 to 85 years and its eventual replacement with renewable resources and nuclear power. Furthermore, it is proposed that synthesis of chemical feedstocks from recycled carbon dioxide and hydrogen-rich materials should be undertaken for specific applications in the transport sector which require access to high energy density fuels. To achieve the latter, carbon dioxide capture is imperative and possible synthetic routes for chemical feedstock production are briefly reviewed.


Carbon capture and recycle; Carbon dioxide utilization; Methane hydrates; Natural gas; Shale gas

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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