Direct air capture

The challenge

While a significant focus is on reducing emissions and reaching Net Zero Emissions targets, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognises that this will not be enough to avoid dangerous levels of global warming: our world must actively remove historical carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere. This is one of two projects that are addressing two of the key strategies for Carbon Dioxide Removals, namely soil sequestration of carbon as well as disruptive Negative Emissions Technologies such as Direct Air Capture.

 

Why this research is valuable

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) is recognised by international thought leaders including the IPCC, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Swiss Re Institute and the Oxford Offsetting Principles, amongst others, as a critical strategy for reducing climate change which contribute to weather extremes, losses of habitat and vegetation, and threats to health, food, water and economic growth. We are developing engineered approaches to carbon removal using Direct Air Capture (DAC) which will provide a sustainable source of carbon dioxide, a key commodity for agriculture and horticulture (e.g. growth of organic fruits and vegetables), and as a valuable feedstock for renewable fuels. We estimate that successful deployment will reduce the cost to < US$100/tonne CO2, facilitating the accelerated uptake of the technology.

 

Research themes

The removal of CO2 from the ambient air using renewable energy can be achieved using specially designed nanomaterials called Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) which can be produced economically and at scale.

Development of advanced nanomaterials (e.g., MOFs) with highly sought-after physicochemical properties including (i) ultrahigh selectivity for CO2 combined with air and water stability; (ii) outstanding conversion efficiency for CO2 to commodity chemicals.

Optimise the working capacities (thermodynamic and dynamic performance as well as lifespan, safety and sustainable scaleable manufacture) of advanced materials including Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) for DAC.

 

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