Liquid Fuel and bio-Energy Supply from CO2 Reduction (LifesCO2R)
This is a £2 m project recently awarded by EPSRC Multidisciplinary Low Carbon Fuel scheme, led by Newcastle University.
The consortium consists of five UK universities, including: Oxford, Sheffield, Surrey, U. South Wales and Newcastle, and several industrial partners, such as Northumbrian Water and TaTa Steel, as well as international partners from leading research institutions.
As the world population increases, breakthrough technologies tackling both fuel supply and carbon emission challenges are needed. The use of CO2 from, or captured in industrial processes, as a direct feedstock for chemical fuel production, are crucial for reducing green house gas emission and for sustainable fuel production with the existing resources.
To achieve the goals of this project, there are three major research challenges:
1. How to maximise the power output and energy from wastewater and other waste?
2. How to achieve CO2 conversion to medium chain alkanes through reduction to formate in MEC, and then use SimCells for large scale production
3. Can we develop a viable, integrated, efficient and economic system combining bio-electrochemical and biological processes for sustainable liquid fuel production?
1) Maximize power output from BES and harvesting energy from biomass and wastewaters
2) Optimize and characterize low cost, high activity and selectivity cathode catalysts for electrochemical reduction of CO2 to formate with electrochemical and BES
3) Design a novel modular configuration of the electrochemical reactor, investigate electrode materials and configuration with high absorption and mass transport rates
4) Optimize and improve SimCell reactor with Ralstonia bacteria, for alkane production from formate
5) Design and integrate electrochemical cell and SimCell reactor, first by simulation, and then develop a pilot scale reactor system
6) Rigorous process integration and LCA and policy assessment on CDU/CCU and low carbon fuels