Carbon dioxide is a colorless gas with carbon atoms, which are covalently double bonded to two oxygen atoms. This gas occurs naturally in the atmosphere and comes from natural sources such as hot springs and volcanoes. In addition to that, this gas is available in petroleum and natural gas deposits. It is an odorless gas, but at high concentrations, it has an acidic odor. When consumed at such concentrations, it has a taste similar to soda water in the mouth. The common uses of carbon dioxide include;
1. Chemicals and Plastics
Carbon dioxide can be made into a variety of chemical intermediary materials using various catalysts. A catalyst is a substance, which speeds up the rate of reaction. These materials can serve as feedstocks and can be involved in industrial processes such as forming methanol or formic acid.
Captured carbon dioxide can be used to increase the growth of algae, which has a higher capacity of absorbing it as compared to any other biomass. Algae have important uses such as biofuels, feedstock for food, and are useful in carbon fibers.
3. Manufacturing liquid fuels
Liquid fuels are made by refining hydrocarbons, which are drilled from underground. Some of the examples of liquid fuels include diesel, gasoline, and jet fuels.
4. Concrete building materials
Aggregates are made by converting carbon dioxide gas into solid minerals such as calcium carbonate. In a process known as carbon dioxide mineralization. Also, the gas is used as a substitute for water in “curing” concrete during the mixing process. This makes the final product stronger.
5. Industrial applications
Carbon dioxide is used in industries for the production of chemicals and feedstock. In addition to that, it is used in the production of refrigeration systems, water treatment systems, welding, and in the production of carbonated drinks. In the metal industry, carbon dioxide is used to enhance the hardness of casting molds. Various fire extinguishers contain carbon dioxide, which prevents oxygen from further fueling a fire.
6. Pharmaceutical and chemical applications
Carbon dioxide is used in making urea, which is used as a fertilizer. When combined with epoxides, carbon dioxide creates polymers and plastics. Furthermore, it is used for water treatment and to keep foods cool.
7. Electronic applications
Carbon dioxide gas is used in the electronic industry for assembling circuit boards and cleaning surfaces. In addition to that, it is also used in the manufacture of devices, which act as semiconductors.
8. Used in the oil industry
Carbon dioxide gas is useful in the oil industry in that it is used in the enhanced oil recovery process, commonly known as the EOR. The EOR is a technique that is used for increasing the quantity of extracted crude oil from fields. This is done by injecting carbon dioxide gas into an oil reservoir at a higher pressure. This process pushed the oil in the reservoir through the pipes and then it comes up to the surface of the ground. The injection of carbon dioxide gas helps in the reduction of the viscosity of the oil.