Thermochemical Conversion Pathway

Silver container with a red image on the front

Learn about the economics of producing carbon monoxide, methane, dimethyl ether, methanol, and hydrocarbons from carbon dioxide (CO2) and electricity via thermochemical conversion.

For each product developed using this conversion pathway, visualizations show key cost and conversion metrics based on three different cases:

  • Current – published results in the open literature with electricity priced at $0.068/kilowatt-hours (kWh) and a CO₂ cost of $40/metric ton (MT)
  • Future – attainable process improvements with electricity priced at $0.03/kWh and a CO₂ cost of $20/MT
  • Theoretical – thermodynamic limitations with electricity priced at $0.02/kWh and a CO₂ cost of $0/MT.

Select a Product and Case

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a common chemical precursor with a global production totaling ~150 million metric tons per year at an average market price of $0.20/kg ($0.17–$0.26 between 2014 and 2018).

The biggest cost contributors for producing carbon monoxide from carbon dioxide and electricity via thermochemical conversion include hydrogen feedstock cost and carbon dioxide feedstock cost for the current case and hydrogen feedstock cost for the future and theoretical cases.

Major Cost Drivers

  1. Hydrogen feedstock cost
  2. CO2 feedstock cost
  3. Single-pass CO2 conversion

Minimum Selling Prices ($2016/kg)

  1. Current: $
  2. Future: $
  3. Theoretical: $

Technical Metrics for Cases

[spider chart]
Current = Green
Future = Blue
Theoretical = Edge

Sensitivity Analysis

Shows process parameter impact on minimum selling price ($/kg)

[tornado chart]
Market parameters = Orange · Technical parameters = Blue
Mid-line values represent state of technology parameters.

Glossary of Terms

Need a term defined? See the glossary of terms.

Cite the Data

If you use this data in a publication, please cite it accordingly:

Huang, Zhe, R. Gary Grim, Joshua A. Schaidle, and Ling Tao. 2021. “The Economic Outlook for Converting CO2 and Electrons to Molecules.” Energy & Environmental Science.