Carbon Conversion: Steel's Green Revolution

Bombay IIT
Bombay IITImage Source: Bombay IIT


Researchers at IIT-Bombay have developed a new CO₂ capture technology that converts CO₂ to CO, potentially saving the steel industry significant funds and reducing emissions. This patented method operates at ambient temperatures, using renewable energy, aligning with India's net-zero ambitions.


Researchers from IIT-Bombay have achieved a major breakthrough that could have a transformative impact on the steel industry. They have developed and patented a new technology that captures carbon dioxide (CO₂) and converts it into carbon monoxide (CO), which is essential in steel production. This innovation could lead to substantial cost savings for the industry while also reducing harmful emissions.

The research, conducted by the National Centre of Excellence in Carbon Capture and Utilisation (NCoE-CCU) at IIT Bombay, received support from the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The process works by using an electrocatalytic reaction that can operate at ambient temperatures, which is significant because it requires minimal energy input.

Typically, the production of CO, a critical component of synthesis gas or syngas, is obtained by the partial oxidation of coal. This traditional process emits a large amount of CO₂, contributing to the greenhouse gas problem. However, the technology from IIT Bombay takes these emissions and turns them back into a useful product, thereby offering a double benefit—reducing waste and creating value.

An added advantage of this technology is that it can be powered by renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power. This means the process has the potential to be carbon-neutral, aligning perfectly with India's goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070.

The development has already garnered attention with the establishment of UrjanovaC Private Limited, a company that aims to scale up the technology for industrial use. The steel industry, which is currently one of the largest sources of CO₂ emissions, stands to benefit immensely from this innovative approach.

Moreover, this isn't the only eco-friendly technology coming out of the NCoE-CCU. Another technique for capturing CO₂ in an aqueous solution and converting it to calcium carbonate has also been licensed to UrjanovaC. This breadth of innovation showcases the multiple ways in which the steel industry can evolve towards a more sustainable future.

As these technologies are incubated and developed further, they could lead to a sea change in how the steel industry operates, shifting it towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. This could not only help the planet but also ensure the long-term viability of the industry in a world increasingly focused on reducing carbon footprints.


The pioneering technology from IIT-Bombay is set to usher in a new era for the steel industry. By turning a harmful emission like CO₂ into a useful product like CO, and doing so in a way that harnesses renewable energy, this innovation represents a significant step towards a greener, more sustainable industrial landscape. With the potential for widespread application and significant environmental benefits, the future of steel could be both profitable and sustainable.

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