Direct air capture of carbon dioxide; new materials and processes


   School of Engineering

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  Dr G A Mutch  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS) is a carbon dioxide removal technology that separates CO2 directly from the air using an engineered system [1]. Uniquely, DACCS can address the CO2 emissions from mobile and dispersed sources which account for approximately half of global CO2 emissions. DACCS also offers permanent, secure, and verifiable removal of CO2. This is why there has been significant interest (and investment) by prominent companies looking to robustly decarbonise their activities (e.g., Microsoft, Meta, United Airlines, Shopify, Alphabet, Stripe, McKinsey & Company etc).

Whilst DACCS promises much, it is extremely challenging in practice. Firstly, processing vast quantities of such a dilute source of CO2 requires similarly vast amounts of energy. Secondly, the techno-economic and socio-political aspects of DACCS deployment are very poorly understood. Thus, this project will work at the intersection of science, engineering, and policy to develop radical solutions for, and a globally-unique understanding of, DACCS. Importantly, the project will take account of the socio-political context, to deliver feasible solutions for a just transition. As the project will be primarily lab-based, experience in e.g., chemical engineering, chemistry, or materials science is required.

The successful candidate will become a member of the Materials, Concepts, and Reaction Engineering Group [2]. Our group is inherently multi-disciplinary, across chemical engineering, chemistry, and materials science. Typically, we have ~15 members at one time, which allows us to form a tight-knit, collaborative, and supportive environment. Our previous group members work in leading companies, hold prestigious research fellowships, and have started their own research groups. We particularly encourage applications from groups that are currently underrepresented in academia, such as members of the LGBTQ+ and Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.

Engineering (12) Geology (18)

References

[1] M. Erans, E.S. Sanz-Perez, D.P. Hanak, Z. Clulow, D.M. Reiner, G.A. Mutch, “Direct air capture: process technology, techno-economic and socio-political challenges” Energy Environ. Sci. (2022) 15 1360-1405
[2] https://www.ncl.ac.uk/engineering/research/chemical-engineering/materials-concepts-reaction-engineering/
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 About the Project