Carbon dioxide, a habitable planet Earth, and attempts to reverse climate change

Prof. Emil Roduner from the Department of Chemistry, University of Pretoria and University of Stuttgart

Friday, 22th February 2019
Time:               11:30
Venue:            The Orbital, Chemistry Building
Enquiries:        Prof. Egmont Rohwer, [email protected]

The conversion of a reductive atmosphere that is abundant in the universe to our present and unique oxidative atmosphere is ascribed to photosynthesis that is responsible for the formation of all molecular oxygen and all fossil fuel. The concentration of O2 is an indicator for the condition far from equilibrium that permits life on Earth.

Burning fossil fuels since the beginning of industrialization has led to an increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration with concomitant temperature rise considerably beyond any levels over the past 800 000 years, which is predicted to have severe consequences for life on Earth.

Chemistry, in collaboration with other science disciplines and engineering faces the challenge to convince politics and develop measures to reverse some of the detrimental developments. The lecture will outline the broader context and then focus on ways to curb atmospheric CO2 concentration by a fundamental energy transition away from fossil fuel and by electrochemical recycling of CO2 using renewable energy, with a particular focus on liquid solar fuel formation by co-electrolysis of CO2 and water.

Published by Anita Botha

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