Decarbonization Avenue : C2V - CO2 to Value

In fact

Captured carbon dioxide converts into oxalic acid to process rare earth elements

A team from Michigan Technological University has designed a carbon dioxide scrubber. They are working on converting the carbon dioxide that they capture into oxalic acid

Oxalic acid is a naturally occurring chemical in many foods. In industry, oxalic acid is used to leach rare earth elements from ore bodies. The rare earths are in turn used in electronics such as cell phones.

Rare earths are not presently in many countries, with China producing 90 percent or more of the rare earths in the world. By producing oxalic acid domestically, it may be possible to profitably extract rare earth elements in other countries, leading to higher self-reliance.

Relevant for

  • Electronics engineer
  • Chemical engineer
  • Metallurgical engineer
  • Dietitian or food scientist
  • Food maker

Innovation sector

  • Chemistry & chemical engineering
  • Geological sciences
  • Material sciences
  • Policy-making

Other In fact


  • University researcher
  • Government