UK, Greece and Norway partnership ranks top in funding call for carbon capture innovation

An alliance of researchers from the UK, Norway and Greece has been ranked top in a Europe-wide funding call and will receive €670,000 towards research into innovative carbon capture technology.

The joint proposal by the University of Edinburgh,SINTEF of Norway, and Greece’s Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) was one of 20 submissions received by FENCO-NET, a European grouping committed to encouraging fossil energy research collaborations across international borders.

The project was the only one of nine UK-led proposals to be awarded funding by FENCO-NET, and it will now receive its share from a total funding pot of €2 million. Another three trans-national research collaborations, which include UK partners, were also selected for funding.

Carbon capture forms part of a full-chain of technologies, which could clean up carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel burning facilities, such as power plants, if used at commercial scale. Once captured, the CO2 can ultimately be stored permanently deep below ground in geological formations.

The international team of capture engineers will now develop a research programme, which will include:

  • an evaluation of new, innovative CO2 capture processes based on selective adsorption of CO2 in metal organic framework (MOF) materials;
  • the synthesis, characterisation, formulation and evaluation of selected MOFs for vacuum swing adsorption (VSA) post-combustion capture;
  • investigation and improvement of adsorbent stability and efficiency in post-combustion carbon capture processes;
  • the modelling of mass and heat transfer kinetics to enable accurate process simulations needed to help reduce costs and energy usage associated with carbon capture units;
  • the optimal design and operation of VSA process at bench and industrial scale.

Professor Stefano Brandani, of the University of Edinburgh and member of the SCCS directorate, said:

"The FENCO-NET call has given us a unique opportunity to coordinate the significant research efforts of our project partners. SINTEF is able to prepare advanced MOFs, which can be scaled up for bench-scale process testing. At the University of Edinburgh, we have developed new rapid screening techniques, specifically for post-combustion capture, which can be further developed through close collaboration with SINTEF. And CERTH brings expertise in VSA modelling, simulation, design and optimisation. Significant advances in this field can only be achieved if material and process development are combined."

Dr Richard Blom, of SINTEF Materials and Chemistry, said:

"The project will bring together a new constellation of research groups within the field of adsorption process development that will bring the use of novel nano-materials, such as MOFs, one step further towards application. In the project, the focus of SINTEF will be to make well-shaped particulates of the chosen MOF."

Professor Eustathios S Kikkinides, of the University of Western Macedonia and collaborating faculty member at CERTH, said:

"It is a great pleasure for our research team at CERTH to be part of this great effort and join forces with very important research groups from the University of Edinburgh and SINTEF. Our partners have great expertise in the development and evaluation of advanced MOFs, which are very promising materials for the selective adsorption of CO2. Our research group will compliment their work by bringing 20 years of experience in the area of pressure/vacuum swing adsorption (PSA/VSA) process modelling and simulation. Evidently, the optimal design of materials and processes is expected to significantly improve our efforts in carbon capture technology."

You can read more on the Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS) website.