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Carbon is an element that is often referred to as providing the building blocks of life. Pure carbon forms many different organic compounds found in all known life forms and throughout the known universe.

What forms does carbon take?

Due to its unique ability to form different connections with other elements, carbon manifests in many wildly varying forms. In the human body, which is almost 20% carbon, it bonds with atoms of other elements, like hydrogen and oxygen. It is the main component of DNA, muscle tissue, but also of sugars, proteins, fats, and more. In their pure form, carbon atoms can be arranged to make graphite, diamond and graphene. Hydrogen and carbon atoms together form hydrocarbons, which can be used as fossil fuels. It contributes one molecule to the compound carbon dioxide.

What is the carbon cycle?

The carbon cycle is a long-term process in which carbon compounds are exchanged between the soil, rocks, air, water and various life forms on planet earth. There is a long and short carbon cycle, both sustaining a natural carbon balance that enables life on earth as we know it, including human life. The increased release of carbon into the atmosphere in the shape of greenhouse gases has disrupted this balance.

How to reduce carbon in the atmosphere

Fossil fuels, including liquid fuels like crude oil or solid fuels like coal, contain vast amounts of carbon-containing compounds, which have been stored below the earth and ocean surface over thousands or even millions of years as part of the natural carbon cycle. Over the space of just over a century, human activity has depleted a large part of these fossil fuel reserves and released the carbon trapped within them into the atmosphere. The key to combating climate change lies in a reduction in the use of fossil fuels and cleaner combustion solutions resulting in reduced pollution.

known carbon compounds exist
of the human body is made up of carbon
gigatons of carbon are estimated to be present in the solid earth

How MAN Energy Solutions can help prevent carbon from entering the atmosphere

Carbon is an abundant element on planet earth. The amount of carbon in the natural carbon cycle has not changed since the advent of industrialization, but it is increasingly found in the air in the form of carbon dioxide. MAN Energy Solutions’ technologies can help make fossil fuel extraction cleaner, minimizing both pollution and usage of resources along the entire value chain.

Learn more about decarbonization

From coal to natural gas to synthesized gas

One of the first images that come to mind when we think of carbon, CO2 emissions and pollution are the chimney stacks of the industrial revolution, spewing clouds of gray smoke. Throughout most of the 20th century, industry was fueled by coal, one of the purest forms of carbon. The resulting greenhouse gases kicked off climate change as we know it. MAN Energy Solutions is helping accelerate the decarbonization of the energy sector by driving the conversion of coal-fueled power plants to low-emission natural gas and finally, in the long run, synthesized gas.

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An efficient energy cycle to decarbonize heating and cooling

Reaching carbon-reduction goals largely depends on the use of renewable energy to generate heat and cooling. The latest report from REN21, the global renewable-energy-policy multi-stakeholder network, states that heating and cooling account for 48% of global energy consumption and 39% of CO2 emissions because renewable sources deliver only 10% of the energy. In order to reduce emissions and decarbonize the whole energy supply industry, the development of solutions that consider all sectors, not just electricity generation, are crucial. MAN ETES offers a scalable and carbon-neutral energy storage and sector coupling solution. It integrates multiple sectors by generating, storing, and providing thermal energy for heating and cooling purposes.

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