University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Seminars for the Centre for Environmental and Industrial Flows > Large-Scale Carbon Materials that Sequester CO2: A Pipeline for Sustainable Materials or Pipedream?

Large-Scale Carbon Materials that Sequester CO2: A Pipeline for Sustainable Materials or Pipedream?

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PLEASE NOTE THIS SEMINAR IS 12 .30 START AND WILL BE ON ZOOM - LINK: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84475057850?pwd=cEN3NWtnVGJkNFU3Y2hPdnJHc0hDQT09

Foundational materials, such as steel and aluminium, have enabled transformative advancements in the UK’s automotive, aerospace and built environment. However, the global production of these foundational materials represent >8% of worldwide CO2 emissions and is a threat to meeting the critical UK targets of 78% carbon reductions by 2035. Therefore, the low CO2 intensity alternatives must be found for foundational materials which we use to build our societies. Solid carbon materials offer an opportunity to sequester CO2 while achieving bulk material functionality properties that exceed steel, aluminium and carbon fibre. The functional properties of nano-carbons (e.g. individual carbon nanotubes – iCNTs) are well known, but only recently1 have large-scale materials composed of nano-carbons demonstrated strength, thermal and electrical properties that exceed steel, aluminium and carbon fibre. The theoretical CNT synthesis of nanocarbons from carbon-containing precursors results in a net exothermic reaction that sequesters carbon (e.g. CH4 → C(s) + 2 H2O , and 30 MJ/kgCH4), with potential hydrogen as a potential by-product. However, current CNT production processes do not optimise for CO2 intensity with comparable associated CNT emissions (32-58 kgCO2e/kgCNT)3 to carbon fibre (20-36 kgCO2e/kgCfibre) and greater than steel or (1.4 kgCO2e/kgSteel) or aluminium (5-6.3 kgCO2e/kgAl). This seminar discusses the key enablers of producing low-CO2 intensity materials through improved reactor kinetics and catalyst utilization. Combining improved processes with alternative precursors, such as fugitive methane or cellulose-derived organics, may achieve significant reductions in CO2 intensity even resulting in net negative materials. We will discuss what innovations are needed to realize these goals and pitfalls that may prevent the process intensification needed for optimization.

This talk is part of the Seminars for the Centre for Environmental and Industrial Flows series.

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