Scientists unite in targeting climate change through low-carbon technologies
Leading academics from the University of Glasgow have joined forces with SCCS, the UK’s largest grouping of carbon capture and storage (CCS) scientists, to strengthen climate action through targeted research.
Professor Gioia Falcone, Rankine Chair and Professor of Energy Engineering and Associate Director of the Centre for Sustainable Solutions at the University of Glasgow, joins the SCCS Directorate, where she represents the university’s combined expertise in the climate technology.
CCS is a set of technologies that can slash carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions across the economy, particularly from industrial processes but also from heat and power generation, refineries and hydrogen production.
Earlier this month, the UK’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) reaffirmed the role of CCS in Scotland’s net zero ambitions and as part of a just transition for manufacturing clusters and the oil and gas sector.
Prof Falcone, who is also Visiting Professor at Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, said:
We are thrilled to join the largest CCS research group in the UK and contribute to the transition to a sustainable future. On 2 May 2019, the University of Glasgow was the first university in Scotland to declare a climate emergency and we remain fully committed to supporting solutions to climate change. The offshore energy sector can be transformed to help the UK become a net-zero nation, with CCS playing a pivotal role in effective pathways ahead. We look forward to facilitating progression from theoretical estimates of CO2 storage potential to actual large-scale CCS implementation in the UK.
Professor Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director and Professor of CCS at the University of Edinburgh, said:
SCCS is delighted to welcome the University of Glasgow to our partnership, which now includes six key Scottish research institutes. Prof Falcone and her colleagues bring a wealth of engineering and CCS expertise, which strengthens SCCS’s contribution to climate action. The world will need CCS at large scale to meet Paris Agreement targets while in the UK the CCC has reaffirmed its role in decarbonising our homes and industries. Scotland is developing what could be one of the world’s first offshore, full-chain CCS projects, operating as soon as 2024. This will start a transition for the offshore industries, providing sustainable environmental employment for many decades.
EXPERTISE IN ACTION
Meet three of the University of Glasgow’s senior scientists, whose work is dedicated to achieving global net zero carbon targets through CCS technology.
Prior to joining academia, Prof Falcone worked for several oil and gas companies for a number of years, covering offshore and onshore assignments. She holds a degree in Environmental-Georesources Engineering from Sapienza University of Rome, a Masters degree in Petroleum Engineering from Imperial College London and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London. Prof Falcone is Vice-Chairperson of the Bureau of the Expert Group on Resource Classification of the United Nations Commission for Europe and Chair of the Academic Panel of the Oil & Gas Technology Centre. She is a keen ambassador of transitional and hybrid energy solutions, which can play a key role in the world’s future energy balance.
Key research includes: CO2 storage potential of depleted hydrocarbon fields and saline aquifers; CO2 transport and injection; CO2 flow modelling and measurement; technical and economic feasibility of offshore enhanced oil recovery.
Prof Paul is Professor of Thermofluids at Mechanical Engineering and member of the Energy and Sustainability Group within the Systems, Power & Energy (SPE) Research Division. He has previously held a prestigious RAEng/The Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship. He joined Glasgow in August 2003, becoming a professor in 2020. He has first class degrees in Applied Mathematics (MSc) and Mathematics (BSc Honours) from the University of Dhaka. For several years, Prof Paul has been researching bioenergy with a particular focus on hydrogen-rich bio-syngas production – as well as CO2 utilisation – from biomass and municipal solid waste.
This research is highly important for Scotland, the UK and rest of the World, given the major emphasis on the use of hydrogen, carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) and bioenergy to meet the potential target of net-zero emissions by 2045 in Scotland and 2050 UK-wide. In particular, I appreciate the opportunity to work collaboratively, in an exciting and vibrant environment, to develop and deliver innovation that brings wider benefits.
Key research includes: fundamental investigation and understanding of issues associated with the complex interactions of thermo-fluids dynamics, thermochemical processes, and heat and mass transports; bioenergy with CCS (BECCS) and other negative emission concepts; underground coal gasification (UCG) with CO2 capture and utilisation for syngas (H2) and energy production.
Dr MacDonald is Lecturer in Earth Sciences with a research interest in carbon and carbonates. He uses a range of analytical methods from X-Ray Computed Tomography (XCT) to novel isotope geochemistry techniques, such as clumped isotopes, to address a range of research questions. As a geologist with a background in natural carbonate rocks and minerals, which host hydrocarbon resources, he now applies his expertise to CCS by mineralisation with natural and anthropogenic geomaterials, such as slag.
Slag is a voluminous by-product from the iron and steel industry. It naturally reacts with atmospheric CO2, converting it from gas to mineral form. However, we have a limited understanding of the geochemistry of the CO2 mineralisation process. Innovative and collaborative research using a range of analytical techniques will help us bridge this knowledge gap so that we can harness materials such as slag to maximise removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. CCS will play a key role in helping Scotland, the UK and the whole world achieve net zero climate targets. My research on CCS with industrial by-products is one small part in this wider agenda and a chance to help the planet remain habitable for generations to come.
Key research includes: The effect of climatic conditions on passive CO2 capture with steel slag; determining processes of CO2capture with steel slags and implications for mitigating rising CO2 levels; capturing atmospheric CO2 with waste cement.