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Former BP executive joins global carbon capture effort

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Dr Issam Dairanieh, the former head of the corporate venture capital team at BP, will lead an ambitious new initiative focused on converting carbon emissions into valuable commercial products, the CO2 Sciences' Board of Directors has announced.

Launched this January in Davos at the World Economic Forum annual meeting, The Global CO2 Initiative and its innovation arm, CO2 Sciences Inc., were created to realise the ambitious goal of capturing 10% of global CO2 emissions and transforming them into valuable products. By harnessing market demand for products that capture and reuse CO2, this worldwide initiative aims to catalyse substantial economically driven change that reuses the increased amounts of CO2. There are many products that can be made using captured CO2, including cement, aggregates, carbon fibre, plastics and fuels, among others.

"Creating bold solutions for one of the world's most pressing challenges requires innovative leadership, which is why we are thrilled to have Dr Dairanieh join our team," said Bernard David, Chairman of the Initiative's innovative research and development platform, CO2 Sciences Inc. "Issam's extensive expertise in both research and development of emerging technologies and in commercialisation make him uniquely positioned for this role."

Dr Dairanieh brings over 30 years of experience in technology assessment, development, deployment and investment to The Initiative.

"We have a tremendous opportunity to harness the power of commercial markets to reuse global CO2," said Dr Dairanieh. "We estimate that converting CO2 into products like construction materials, fuels, and carbon fibre has a market value of US$800 billion — 1.1 trillion annually, achievable by 2030. Supporting and accelerating the variety and scale of CO2-based products turns a liability into an asset. In my new capacity as CEO, I look forward to working to catalyse innovative research in carbon capture and reuse by granting US$100 million per year for ten years to scientific research. Simultaneously, we will work with investment funds, joint ventures and corporations to invest in companies to enable them to grow market demand for CO2-based products."

Since 2006, Dr Dairanieh has conducted strategic studies on emerging clean energy technologies providing insights and prospects on business opportunities for BP's Alternative Energy division. In 2007, Dr Dairanieh joined BP Ventures and wrote an investment thesis on carbon conversion that lead to investing in three leading companies in this arena. Then in 2010, Dr Dairanieh took on building and leading the US venture team for BP Alternative Energy and then became the international head of the corporate venture capital team.

"The Global CO2 Initiative is taking on the grand challenge of developing real world solutions to reduce our carbon emissions," said former US Energy Secretary Dr Steven Chu, a member of the Initiative's Global Advisory Board. "Dr Dairanieh is well positioned to undertake this ambitious and critically important effort that will have a direct impact on climate change."

"Developing carbon capture and utilisation technology will play a crucial role in the global effort to reduce the atmospheric carbon burden and tackle climate change," said Thomas Lovejoy, Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation and University Professor in the Environmental Science and Policy department at George Mason University. "The Global CO2 Initiative is leading the work to scale and commercialise these critical technologies. Their ability to bring together the worlds of science, business, technology and finance is unparalleled."

"I am excited about this approach by The Global CO2 Initiative that recognises the central role industry can and must play in solving this most pressing global challenge. Those companies and entrepreneurs that embrace the many opportunities for innovation in this space will have an opportunity to participate in creating and growing new large scale markets. The Global CO2 Initiative will provide an outstanding forum to better understand significant growth opportunities in context of both existing and new businesses," said Dr Harold Schmitz, Chief Scientific Officer for Mars, Incorporated.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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