Coca-Cola is taking part in the rush towards converting captured CO2 into usable products. Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), formed from the combination of three main bottling companies for Coca-Cola Company in Western Europe, has announced a collaboration with the Peidong Yang Research Group of the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) to develop scalable methods of converting captured CO2 into sugar.
CCEP, the world’s largest Coca-Cola bottler, is looking for ways to reduce its carbon footprint while also making use of the captured carbon dioxide emissions. About a quarter of the company’s CO2 footprint is attributed to its use of agricultural ingredients like sugar.
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The collaboration between the two parties is part of a research project that started with the NASA CO2 Conversion Challenge. It directed competitors to find a novel, nonbiological process that converts carbon dioxide into glucose.
The Peidong Yang Research Group was the winner of the top prize from the NASA Challenge and according to Peidong Yang – a campus chemistry professor, Coca-Cola was interested in the technology and reached out.
As participants in NASA’s challenge, the group demonstrated the feasibility of its process. According to Yang, his team has shown it is possible to convert carbon dioxide into a mix of sugar with electricity.
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He also states that the team will continue to improve the process and Coca-Cola’s support will help them optimize their technology. It is still yet to fully convert the formaldehyde and glycolaldehyde into glucose.
“The purity is not ideal… Certainly, Coca-Cola wants purer glucose. Then, the yield and production rates … are the two major bottlenecks we need to remove, and in the next few years we want to optimize both the selectivity and purity of a particular sugar and the production rates,” explained Mr. Yang.