sil fuels as the predominant source of energy and chemical feedstocks over the next 20 years, and will continue to be important even when renewable energy resources are predominant.


Research Needed:

  • Develop more energy and cost efficient chemical separations, especially effective alternatives to distillation.

  • Explore biotechnology and other emerging technological solutions. Research and development needs in these areas include reducing production costs, increasing stability, and discovering catalysts with greater specificity.

  • Better understand the mechanisms of friction, lubrication, and wear of interacting surfaces (tribology)—which leads to one third of the loss of the world’s energy resources in present use. 17

7. Separation, Sequestration, and Utilization of Carbon Dioxide

Grand Challenge: Develop more effective technology and strategies to manage the resulting carbon dioxide (CO2) from current and future human activity. Addressing this challenge will also be critical during the continued use of fossil fuels as the predominant source of energy and chemical feedstocks over the next 20 years, and will continue to be important as long as carbon based fuels are in use.


Research Needed:

  • Develop energy and cost efficient technologies (Grand Challenge 6) for CO2 separation from flue gas and the atmosphere.

  • Develop technologies for CO2 sequestration that will address the technical feasibility of making and storing compressed forms of CO2 in geological formations and elsewhere.

  • Explore utilizing low cost, nontoxic, and renewable CO2 as a feedstock for entirely new materials and for new routes to existing chemicals such as urea, salicylic acid, cyclic carbonates, and polycarbonates.18

8. Sustainability Education

Grand Challenge: Improve sustainability science literacy at every level of society—from informal education of consumers, citizens and future scientists, to the practitioners of the field, and the businesses that use and sell these products. Advances in chemistry and engineering must be ac-

17  

Bhushan, B., ed. 1996. Handbook of Micro/Nano Tribology. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.

18  

Marks, T. J. et al., 2001. Catalysis Research of Relevance to Carbon Management. Chemical Reviews 101(4):973–975.



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