LG Chem-KIST manufacture raw materials for plastic with carbon dioxide in the air

LG Chem-KIST manufacture raw materials for plastic with carbon dioxide in the air

■ With the world’s best efficiency, the Company developed a technology that converts carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide using electricity
□  Over 90% of electric currents are used to decompose and reduce carbon dioxide, diminishing byproducts as a result
□  Ease of producing various types of synthetic gas including carbon monoxide

■ Contributed to resolving environmental issues including carbon neutrality by developing the technology that uses carbon dioxide, which remains abundant in the atmosphere

With Korea Institute of Science and Technology(KIST, Director Yoon Seok-jin), LG Chem has developed a technology that makes raw materials for plastics by using carbon dioxide in the air. The Company has now set the stage for commercialization.

On the 9th, LG Chem announced that it developed an electrochemical conversion reactor that can increase the efficiency of converting carbon dioxide(CO₂) into carbon monoxide(CO) to the world’s highest level through joint research with KIST.

Carbon monoxide is a high value-added substance required to produce various chemical raw materials including alternative fuels such as synthetic gas and methanol as well as plastics.

Electrochemical conversion technology pertains to converting CO₂ into high value-added carbon compounds such as carbon monoxide by using electricity. The technology is essential in realizing carbon neutrality as it reduces greenhouse gas emissions to resolve environmental issues. It also uses CO₂ that remains abundant in the atmosphere as raw materials.

The reactor developed by both LG Chem and KIST not only produces carbon monoxide but synthetic gas(Syngas) that serves as a raw material for various fuels and chemical compounds. The reactor allows easy control of the ratio of carbon monoxide and hydrogen through adjusting voltage so that it enables manufacturing of various types of syngas and expanding the technology.

In particular, the efficiency of electric current used for CO₂ decomposition and reduction marked over 90%, the highest figure reported in any published paper thus far. Additionally, the technology also demonstrated an optimal scale for commercialization by applying a stack method where cells in the reactor are stacked sideways.

Through the reactor that they developed, LG Chem and KIST plan to secure technology that enables mass production by increasing the size of the reactor over ten times. Furthermore, they plan to contribute to carbon neutrality by developing a technology that can produce ethylene(C₂H₄) serving as a raw material for various petrochemical products by collecting CO₂ in the atmosphere.

Yu Jiyung, Executive Vice President/CTO of LG Chem said “What we achieved from the research is meaningful in that it laid the foundation for commercializing carbon dioxide conversion technology,” and added that the Company “will continue to strengthen the development of source technology in the field of carbon neutrality.”

Min Byung-kwon, Head of KIST’s Clean Energy Research Division, said that “we confirmed the possibility of mass-producing high value-added chemical compounds through scaling CO₂ conversion technology by using electricity.” He added “The higher the supply of renewable energy, the more economical it becomes. We expect to make significant contributions to carbon neutrality, which is also a national responsibility.”

In the meantime, LG Chem and KIST signed an agreement for joint R&D of relevant technologies such as carbon neutrality and hydrogen energy in April of last year and drew ten promising carbon neutrality tasks. This April, the two organizations launched a joint lab to transfer key technologies including ‘electrochemical production technology of ethylene using carbon dioxide’ and ‘biological production technology of organic acids using biomass and by-product gas.’