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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number EP/F034482/1
Title Carbon Capture from Power Plant and Atmosphere
Status Completed
Energy Categories Renewable Energy Sources(Bio-Energy, Production of other biomass-derived fuels (incl. Production from wastes)) 50%;
Fossil Fuels: Oil Gas and Coal(CO2 Capture and Storage, CO2 capture/separation) 50%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 30%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (General Engineering and Mineral & Mining Engineering) 40%;
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences) 30%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Dr G White
No email address given
School of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 25 November 2008
End Date 31 August 2014
Duration 69 months
Total Grant Value £1,089,228
Industrial Sectors Energy; Environment
Region Scotland
Programme Energy : Energy
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr G White , School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University (99.999%)
  Other Investigator Professor R Ocone , School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , WWF - World Wide Fund for Nature (UK) (0.000%)
Project Contact , Babcock International Group plc (0.000%)
Project Contact , C-Questor (0.000%)
Project Contact , AIR Liquide (France) (0.000%)
Project Contact , Mott Macdonald UK Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Scottish Enterprise (SE) (0.000%)
Project Contact , University of Aberdeen (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract Energy supply for the UK, and for the world, will experience major changes during the next 20 years. Many nations seek secure energy supplies, combined with low costs, and sustainable environmental impacts. Most of world energy currently derives from combustion of fossil fuel. The UK is no exception.In the UK, fossil fuel (oil) dominates transport use, and is difficult to change in the near future. Electricity and heat generation is dominated by gas (41%) and coal (34%), with 20% from nuclear, only 3% from renewables, and 2% imported electricity. This gas and coal will from now onwards largely be imported, paying costs to suppliers outside the UK. This also means security of supply is not guaranteed. Can improvements be made to the use of these energy sources?A key environmental problem is that fossil fuel combustion releases fossil CO2 to the atmosphere. This is now, beyond reasonable doubt, linked to global warming and climate change. Atmospheric CO2 alsodissolves in ocean water, forcing an increased acidity greater than any time in the past 20 Million years. Even those who still do not believe in climate change cannot escape the inevitability of ocean acidification / with as yet un-predicted consequences. For this reason alone, atmospheric CO2 must be reduced.To enable continued use of fossil fuels, whilst renewable sources are developed, it is an urgent requirement to de-carbonise their combustion. The Stern Review of Climate Change Economics in 2006 clearly re-stated that significant progress must be made during the ten years until 2017.This research proposition addresses the fossil fuel issues in two ways:Firstly, to create a UK Centre of university expertise in the capture of CO2 from power plant. Current industrial systems rely on chemical absorption by solvents, but require a very high energy input, which reduces the environmental gain. The Centre will focus on new technologies of CO2 separation by adsorption onto nanoporous materials materials, by "filtration" of CO2 from power plant flue gases by newly created semi-permeable membranes, and by membrane separation of oxygen from air, to enable oxy-fuel combustion and efficient CO2 separation.Secondly, we acknowledge that there is, and will be, a need to remove existing CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. The reductions proposed from power plant emissions do not reduce existing CO2, they just make the increase slower. To control the earth atmosphere and produce a sustainable climate requires extraction of CO2 already emitted. This is routinely achieved, at low cost, by vegetation. We will create an entirely new centre of university expertise which will focus on using bio-mass from agriculture, forestry and waste. This can firstly make bio-fuel to replace fossil sources, and the residues can be pyrolised to form charcoal. Such charcoal has been used in traditional cultures to enhance soil fertility, and locks up carbon for thousands ofyears. Improvements in land use in the EU, USA, and developing world can achieve this, by an integration of engineering, soil science, and social benefit to cultivators.The University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University already host the UK's largest academic centre investigating the geological burial of CO2 captured from power plant. There are existing multi-skilled networks in Edinburgh linking land use, agriculture, social, legal and economic analysis, chemical engineering and petroleum geoscience. Creation of the Carbon Capture Centre will be an ideal complementary activity, and the range of expertise, from atmospheric capture, to power-plant capture to cultivation and geological burial will be unique.Outputs from the Centre can help the UK to combust coal and gas with environmentally clean methods, to enhance energy security by diversifying away from fossil fuel sources, and to commence the direct clean-up of CO2 from the atmosphere in a energy efficient, and financially efficient, sustainable way
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 17/12/07