Carol Xiao circular carbon
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Is carbon the problem?


Our Director Business Development, Carol Xiao, wrote a blog for FutureCarbonNL about circular carbon. You can read her contribution below.

Carbon is present everywhere in our daily lives, such as energy, construction materials, food, textiles, and chemicals. Currently, we consume 550 megatons(1) of carbon-containing materials and energy. Nearly 88% of this comes from fossil resources, while 12% consists of CO2, recycling, and bio-carbon sources. The expectation is that carbon usage will double to 1,150 megatons by 2050.

The use of carbon is not the problem, but the challenge lies in its disposal. Therefore, it is necessary to replace the aforementioned 88% with new carbon sources and associated technologies.

carbon embedded in chemicals and derived materials
RCI Carobn Flows Report: Compilation of supply and demand of fossil and renewable carbon on a global and European level, Nova Institute  

What can we do?

What we definitely need to do is reduce and optimize our use of materials and energy, as well as promote reuse. Nevertheless, the demand for carbon remains significant. Therefore, we must increase recycling efforts. Additionally, the widespread use of non-fossil resources and the application of Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) technologies are essential.

The bigger picture

At the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT), we believe it is crucial to take a holistic view and understand the carbon demand. This allows us to collaborate with stakeholders in developing roadmaps or scenarios for the transformation towards a circular, industrial carbon chain. Four years ago, we established the ISPT Circular Carbon program, and we have since built a strong project portfolio in collaboration with our network.

Collaborating with the carbon chain

In the Circular Carbon Program, we work with partners to accelerate innovation, develop new consortia, and achieve cost-effective and scalable technologies. ISPT supports the industry in meeting its CO2 reduction goals.

In the coming years, we will continue to work on gasification routes for syngas production, electrochemical conversion of CO2, and syngas-based routes such as renewable methanol strategies and pathways. We do this by collaborating with the entire carbon chain.


The ambition of FutureCarbonNL is to build a globally leading carbon technology sector in the Netherlands. This is necessary to transition away from fossil carbon sources and move towards a sustainable and healthy future. In turn, ISPT, through its Circular Carbon Program, is working on developing a new carbon chain for energy and materials. These initiatives will reinforce each other and lead to new connections between the respective networks.

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Carol Xiao

More about Carol Xiao

Carol Xiao is our director Business Development. She has a background in Chemical Engineering and started her career in the chemical industry and high tech sector. Carol has always been fascinated with innovation, which in her eyes is the driving force of an advanced sustainable society.