Utilisation of CO2 and its conversion into valuable products
In many Australian industries CO2 is a valuable commodity and essential to maintaining a robust supply chain. Examples include pH control in water treatment, protected cropping and microalgae cultivation for food production, as well as and Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) to extend food shelf-life. Currently, these industries use CO2 derived from non-renewable fossil fuel resources and face an immediate challenge in transitioning to sustainable sources of CO2.
Why this research is valuable
The processes involved in Direct Air Capture, concentration and purification of CO2 can be powered by low-cost renewable energy and could displace the use of fossil fuels. Such sustainable CO2 production will enable the development of a ‘circular economy’ from which valuable commodity chemicals can be produced. Moreover, by designing these processes to operate intermittently in an efficient manner, they could also offer a way to stabilise electricity grids.
Conversion of CO2 into Valuable Products — Research Areas
- Developing advanced nanomaterials such as Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) for (i) electrochemical CO2 reduction to high value-added products through standard intermediates such as ethanol and ethylene, and (ii) production of green methane and methanol. We would seek to utilise green hydrogen as a reactant.
- Integrating advanced nanomaterials into units for industrial-scale conversion including plasma-driven synthesis of hydrocarbons from CO2.
- Developing viable separation/purification methods to yield valuable commercial-grade products.