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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K035274/1
Title: Nano-structured Catalysts for CO2 Transformation to Fuels and Products
Principal Investigator: Shah, Professor N
Other Investigators:
Kelsall, Professor G Hellgardt, Professor K Shaffer, Professor M
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Climate KIC UK E.On Econic Technologies Ltd
Johnson Matthey Shell Simon-Carves Ltd
The Linde Group
Department: Dept of Chemistry
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 May 2013 Ends: 30 April 2017 Value (£): 1,488,166
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Carbon Capture & Storage Catalysis & Applied Catalysis
Electrochemical Science & Eng. Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
26 Feb 2013 Nanotechnology GC3 Stage Gate Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This project will develop new nanometre-sized catalysts and (electro-) chemical processes for producing fuels, including methanol, methane, gasoline and diesel, and chemical products from waste carbon dioxide. It builds upon a successful first phase in which a new, highly controlled nanoparticle catalyst was developed and used to produce methanol from carbon dioxide; the reaction is a pertinent example of the production of a liquid fuel and chemical feedstock. In addition, we developed high temperature electrochemical reactions and reactors for the production of 'synthesis gas' (carbon monoxide and hydrogen) and oxygen from carbon dioxide and water. In this second phase of the project, we shall extend the production of fuels to include methanol, methane, gasoline and diesel, by integrating suitably complementary processes, using energy from renewable sources or off-peak electricity. The latter option is particularly attractive as a means to manage electricity loads as more renewables are integrated with the national power grid. In parallel, we will apply our new nanocatalysts to enable the copolymerization of carbon dioxide with epoxides to produce polycarbonate polyols, components of home insulation foams (polyurethanes). The approach is both commercially and environmentally attractive due to the replacement of 30-50% of the usual petrochemical carbon source (the epoxide) with carbon dioxide, and may be commercialised in the relatively near term. These copolymers are valuable products in their own right and provide a commercial-scale proving ground for the technology, before addressing integration into the larger scale challenges of fuel production and energy management.

The programme will continue to improve our catalyst performance and our understanding, to enable carbon dioxide transformations to a range of valuable products. The work will be coupled with a comprehensive process systems analysis in order to develop the most practical and valuable routes to implementation. Our goal is to continue to build on our existing promising results to advance the technology towards commercialisation; the research programme will focus on:

1) Catalyst optimization and scale-up so as to maximise the activities and selectivities for target products.

2) Development and optimization of the process conditions and engineering for the nanocatalysts, including testing and modelling new reactor designs.

3) Process integration and engineering to enable tandem catalyses and efficient generation of renewable fuels, including integration with renewable energy generation taking advantage of off-peak electrical power availability.

4) Detailed economic, energetic, environmental and life cycle analysis of the processes.

We will work closely with industrial partners to ensure that the technologies are practical and that key potential impediments to application are addressed. We have a team of seven companies which form our industrial advisory board, representing stakeholders from across the value chain, including: E.On, National Grid, Linde, Johnson Matthey, Simon Carves, Econic Technologies, and Shell.

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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk