Membrane processes are a promising alternative to the more classical post-combustion capture technologies due to the reduced maintenance of the process, the absence of dangerous solvents and their smaller footprint. This project aims at supporting the development of new mixed matrix membranes for post-combustion applications. Mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) are composite materials formed by embedding inorganic fillers into a polymeric matrix in order to overcome the upper bound and combine the characteristics of the two solid phases: mechanical properties, economical processing capabilities and permeability of the polymer and selectivity of the filler. Despite several studies on the concept, the interactions between the two phases and their effect on the transport properties are not well understood. Yet, this fundamental knowledge is crucial in order to design the reliable materials needed for real-world-applications.
The general objective of CleanCOALtech project is: to create and develop an educational and training system for promoting, developing and implementing clean coal technologies, through knowledge and best practices shared from advanced EU country – UK to South-East European region – Romania and Greece in order to provide high performance and innovation in the vocational education and training systems and to raise stakeholders level of knowledge and skills.
Carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion and change in land use are forcing a rapid increase in atmospheric CO2 levels leading to climate change. The initial implementation of plans to reduce the levels of CO2 is based on a combination of increased use of renewable energy and the implementation of carbon capture and storage from industrial sources and power plants on a wide scale.
Such actions are not sufficient for preventing the cross with the maximum limit CO2 concentration in atmosphere (550ppm), which is foreseen for 2060.
CO2 capture directly from the atmosphere (air capture) would provide an option to accelerate the correction and possibly reverse the trend in atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
Our goal is to test the feasibility of producing low molecular weight aromatic chemical feedstocks from the lignin that is currently a waste product from wood processing and paper manufacturing, so that it may be used to manufacture useful products. We propose to develop a "front-end" to optimise the conversion of lignin into its constitutive aromatic chemical building blocks. This technology may be bolted to any "back-end" in a biorefinery to produce bioplastics, biosurfactants, biomaterials and so on. By exploring and optimising a technology which allows for the rapid tuning of bacteria or fungi for exploiting the conversion of lignin, we stand to limit waste by being able to optimise the degradation products being used as chemical feedstocks and diversify the range of end-bioproducts possible.
We propose to develop and implement a genetic platform for optimizing blends of enzymes for biomass processing applications, using computational modeling, combinatorial gene assembly, expression control and high-throughput screening of gene cassettes from a library of genes in modular format. In addition to providing optimal enzyme blends for any given application, analysis of the results will allow us to develop heuristics which will facilitate rational design of biomass processing systems in the future, and will lead to a deeper understanding of biomass degradation processes.
New ideas for carbon capture are urgently needed to combat climate change. Retro-fitting post-combustion carbon capture to existing power plants has the greatest potential to reduce CO2 emissions considering these sources make the largest contribution to CO2 emissions in the UK. Unfortunately, carbon capture methods based on existing industrial process technology for separation of CO2 from natural gas streams (i.e. amine scrubbing) would be extremely expensive if applied on the scale envisaged, as exemplified by the recent collapse of the Government's CCS project at Longannet power station. Moreover, many of the chemical absorbents used, typically amines, are corrosive and toxic and their use could generate significant amounts of hazardous waste. So, more efficient and 'greener' post-combustion CCS technologies are urgently needed if CCS is to be adopted on a global scale.
The drive to meet the UK’s ambitious deployment targets for offshore renewable energy technologies requires the development of new techniques and technologies to design, build, install, operate, and maintain devices in hostile environments at affordable economic cost with minimal environmental impact. It requires a supply of highly trained scientists and engineers to deliver their skills across the sector. The Universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde and Exeter together with the Scottish Association for Marine Science and HR-Wallingford form a partnership to deliver the EPSRC/ETI Industrial Doctorate Centre in Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE).
The Gas-FACTS programme will provide important underpinning research for UK CCS development and deployment on natural gas power plants, particularly for gas turbine modifications and advanced post combustion capture technologies that are the principal candidates for deployment in a possible tens-of-£billions expansion of the CCS sector between 2020 and 2030, and then operation until 2050 or beyond, in order to meet UK CO2 (carbon dioxide) emission targets.