Carbon dioxide (CO2) is indeed the main cause of global warming. Actually the produced warming effects are smaller than the one generated by methane and dinitrogen oxide. However, because the concentration of CO2 in the air is much higher than the concentration of methane and dinitrogen oxide, CO2 is classified as the main cause of global warming phenomenon.
Nonetheless, the CO2 currently is also used as a very useful material for human life. One of the CO2 utilizations in large-scale industry is in the urea industry. "Urea is the most widely used type of nitrogen fertilizer among farmers in Indonesia and abroad. National production of urea in 2009 reached 6.8 million ton and is projected to increase by 7.35 percent to 7.3 million tons in 2010," said Head of Center for Energy Studies UGM, Prof. Drs. Jumina, Ph.D., in Green Chemistry Seminar in the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences UGM, Saturday (22/5).
According to Jumina, carbon dioxide has also been used in the pharmaceutical industry as a drug ingredient that has an active component of aspirin, salbutamol, and salicylamide that is produced using salicylic acid as the base ingredient.
Related to the discovery of carbon dioxide conversion into methanol, Jumina has also developed carbon dioxide conversion technology into an intermediate product with a divalent metal rock and the intermediate products reduction into methanol through catalytic hydrogenation. In support of this study, Jumina collaborating with PT Madubaru Yogyakarta have successfully developed the technology of carbon dioxide conversion to ethanol through the treatment using a Grignard reagent followed by reduction using Boran compounds. "The technology is quite efficient as shown by the total conversion that reached 60-70 percent," he explained.
Meanwhile, lecturer of Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences UGM, Prof. Dr. Endang Tri Wahyuni, M.S., in the seminar highlighting the importance of zero emissions, which is waste obliteration process in producing the desired product in chemical industry. It is recognized that a chemical process that converts all the reactants into a product with no waste at all is unattainable. "Zero emission is an urgent need. It must be done by all levels of society, especially the researchers and chemical industry," she said.