, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 413–419 | Cite as

SONNE: Solar-Based Man-Made Carbon Cycle and the Carbon Dioxide Economy

  • Detlev Möller


Humans became a global force in the chemical evolution with respect to climate change by interrupting naturally evolved biogeochemical cycles. However, humans also have all the facilities to turn the “chemical revolution” into a sustainable chemical evolution. I define a sustainable society as one able to balance the environment, other life forms, and human interactions over an indefinite time period. According to Steffen et al. (2007), “The Great Acceleration is reaching criticality. Whatever unfolds, the next few decades will surely be a tipping point in the evolution of the Anthropocene”. There is much discussion on “sustainable chemistry” (often called green chemistry), but, in my understanding, the basic principle, is to transfer matter for energetic and material use only within global cycles, without changing reservoir concentrations above a critical level, which is “a quantitative estimate of an exposure to one or more pollutants below which significant harmful...


Fossil Fuel Elemental Carbon Carbon Cycle Carbon Capture Solar Fuel 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank Otmar Edenhofer (Potsdam Institute for Climate Research—PIK), Thomas Fischer (Brandenburg Technical University—BTU), Dirk Freese (BTU), Mathias Hofmann (PIK), Hans-Joachim Krautz (BTU), Elmar Kriegler (PIK), Axel Liebscher (Geo-Research Centre Potsdam), and George Tsatsaronis (Technical University Berlin) for transforming this idea to a joint research project just submitted.


  1. Aresta, M. (Ed.). 2010. Carbon dioxide as chemical feedstock. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH.Google Scholar
  2. Aresta, M., and M.E. Aresta. (Eds.) 2003. Carbon dioxide recovery and utilization. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  3. Aresta, M., and G. Forti, (Eds.). 1987. Carbon dioxide as a source of carbon: biochemical and chemical use. NATO ASI series. Series C, Mathematical and physical sciences No. 206. Boston and Dordrecht: D. Reidel.Google Scholar
  4. Boden, T.A., G. Marland, and R.J. Andres. 2009. Global, regional, and national fossil-fuel CO2 emissions. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, Tenn., USA. doi: 10.3334/CDIAC/00001.
  5. Cao, L., and K. Caldeira. 2010. Atmospheric carbon dioxide removal: long-term consequences and commitment. Environmental Research Letters. doi:  10.1088/1748-9326/5/2/024011.
  6. DAC. 2011. Direct air capture of CO2 with chemicals. Report for the American Physical Society (April 2011).
  7. Edenhofer, O., K. Lessmann, C. Kempert, M. Grubb, and M. Köhler. 2006. Induced technological change: Exploring its implications for the economics of atmospheric stabilization. Synthesis report from Innovation Modeling Comparison Project. The Energy Journal, Special Issue: 57–107.Google Scholar
  8. Edwards, J.H. 1995. Potential sources of CO2 and the options for its large-scale utilisation now and in future. Catalysis Today 23: 59–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Houghton, R.A. 2005. Tropical deforestation as a source of greenhouse gas emission. In: Tropical Deforestation and Climate Change, eds. P. Mountino and S. Schwartzman. Belém: Amazon Institute for Environmental Research.Google Scholar
  10. Lackner, K.S., P. Grimes, and H.J. Ziock. 1999. The case for carbon dioxide extraction from air. The Energy Industry’s Journal of Issues 57: 6–10.Google Scholar
  11. Möller, D. 2010. Chemistry of the climate system. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  12. Nilsson, J., and P. Grennfelt, (Eds.). 1988. Critical loads for sulphur and nitrogen. UNECE/Nordic Council workshop report, Skokloster, Sweden. March 1988. Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers.Google Scholar
  13. Olah, G.A. 2005. Beyond oil and gas: the methanol economy. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 44: 2636–2639.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Park, S.-E., J.-S. Chang, and K.-W. Lee, (Eds.) 2004. Carbon dioxide utilization for global sustainability. Proceedings of the 7th international conference on carbon dioxide utilization. Seoul: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  15. Prentice, I.C., G.D. Farquhar, M.J.R., Fasham, M.L. Goulden, M. Heimann, V.J. Jaramillo, and H.S. Kheshgi, C. et al. 2001. The carbon cycle and atmospheric carbon dioxide. In: Climate change 2001: The scientific basis, eds. J.T. Houghton, Y. Ding, D.J. Griggs, M. Noguer, P.J. van der Linden, X. Dai, K. Maskell, and C. Johnson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Rihko-Struckmann, L.K., A. Peschel, R. Hanke-Rauschenbach, and K. Sundmacher. 2010. Assessment of methanol synthesis utilizing exhaust CO2 for chemical storage of electrical energy. Industrial and Engineering Chemical Research 49: 11073–11078.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Solomon, S., G.-K. Plattner, R. Knutti, and P. Friedlingstein. 2009. Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 106: 1704–1709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Steffen, W., P.J. Crutzen, and J.R. McNeill. 2007. The anthropocene: are humans now overwhelming the great forces of nature? Ambio 36: 614–621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Zeman, F.S., and K.S. Lackner. 2004. Capturing carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere. World Resource Review 16: 62–68.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brandenburg Technical UniversityBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations