From developing cleaner-burning fuels to optimizing the performance of renewable energy technologies and from maximizing the oceans’ storage of blue carbon to minimizing the energy input needed to drive industrial processes, researchers at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) aim to change the carbon narrative to reduce, reuse, recycle and remove.
In December 2020, KAUST launched a CCE initiative that focuses on increasing energy efficiency, capturing and storing carbon, transforming carbon into something useful and integrating renewable resources.
KAUST researchers have compiled a preliminary database for CO2 emissions from more than 1,200 industries involved in electricity generation, desalination, oil refineries, the cement industry, petrochemicals and iron and steel production. Future work aims to pinpoint potential CO2 storage sites within subsurface geological formations.
“Before life emerged on Earth, its atmosphere was formed of 98 percent carbon dioxide (CO2) with surface temperatures exceeding 240 degrees Celsius. Life modified Earth, particularly photosynthesis from cyanobacteria, releasing oxygen while reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide by transforming it into living carbon and stored organic matter,” explained KAUST marine ecologist Carlos Duarte.
“KAUST is a reference university for circular-carboneconomy-related research,” reaffirmed chemical engineer, Jorge Gascon.
“We cover the whole circularity concept, with very important contributions toward the 4 Rs,” he asserted.
More so, Iain McCulloch and his research group at KAUST are finding ways to reduce CO2 emissions by improving the ability to harness the sun’s energy.
A team led by McCulloch from the KAUST Solar Center, in partnership with researchers from the US and the UK, has developed hydrogen evolution photocatalysts (HEPs) made from two different semiconducting materials. They incorporated these materials into organic nanoparticles that can be tuned to absorb more of the visible light spectrum.