Utilising CO2 in Synthesis and Transforming the Chemicals Industry

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Chemical & Biological Engineering


This Network will bring together academics, industrialists and policy makers over a wide range of disciplines to consider the utilisation of carbon dioxide as a single carbon chemical feedstock for the production of value added products. We will work closely with other Grand Challenges and programmes, such as Carbon Capture and Storage and Nanotechnology to consider an integrated solution that will enable the transformation of the chemicals industry and minimise our reliance on fossil fuel based feedstocks. Active stakeholders in this particular Grand Challenge Working Group were originally drawn from Engineering and Chemical Sciences, however we have already expanded to include Social Scientists, industrial end users and political leaders / policy makers. Network activities will be geared towards the founding of strong cross-disciplinary research clusters that will lead research in this increasingly important area. We will collect data on the interest and skill-sets offered by network members, this data will be used to coordinate technical meetings, networking sessions and collaborative workshops to facilitate cluster formation. The Network will consider free (waste and atmospheric) and fixed (biomass) sources of CO2 and will look to close the carbon cycle while developing new synthetic methods for commercial applications. It is recognised that catalysis (including biocatalysis) will play a major role in developing new technologies and that we will need to consider an integrated and sustainable energy solution to promote commercially viable processes.This is seen as an important Grand Challenge both technically and for sociary as a whole. In order to maintatin our current high expectations for standards of living we must address the causes of climate change and the need to provide a secure chemicals supply chain that is not reliant on ever decreasing petrochemical resources.While only a single Co-I (Mike North) could be added to the application we wish to acknowledge that all the Co-Is, Peter Licence, Ian Metcalf and Panagiota Angeli, played an important role in developing this Network Proposal. Consequently we would be grateful if this could be acknowledged both at the Panel and on Grants on the Web at the appropriate time.

Planned Impact

A combined strategy for the reduction of CO2 emissions and producing sustainable chemical feedstocks is certainly a Grand Challenge. The network will address ways in which CO2 can be captured (chemical, mechanical and biological) and then transformed into commercially valuable products. We will consider all options available including the use of CO2 from existing Carbon Capture & Storage technologies and biomass and the integration of catalysts and sustainable energy resources. We will look at individual synthetic procedures, the whole process and also the life cycle analysis. The network will allow us to bring together academics, industrialists and policy makers from a diverse range of disciplines. In order to have an impact on securing the chemicals and energy supply chains we must have involvement of all stakeholders. Importantly, this must necessarily involve the public. It is likely to have an impact over all members of society if we are to help in sustaining a comfortable existence for all, given concerns about climate change and fossil fuel depletion. The network will have an impact on the type of research that is performed both in the science and engineering community and also in the social sciences and ethics communities. We also hope to influence government policy in the chemicals sector. In order to do this we must fully engage with the media and so the management team has made this a priority and Outreach forms a major strand of our proposed activities. A full impact plan is submitted to accompany the case for support.
Description Developed an international network for the promotion of carbon dioxide utilization. Started off as a UK network and then expanded globally. Set up theme meetings and whole network conference.
Exploitation Route New collaborations established. Textbook published.
Sectors Chemicals,Energy,Environment

URL http://www.co2chem.com
Description Inputs in to government policy in UK and Europe.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

Description EPSRC Grand Challenges
Amount £445,777 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K007947/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2012 
End 06/2017
Description FP7 ROK
Amount € 2,100,000 (EUR)
Funding ID FP7 - Theme: Regions 2012-2013-1 Coordination and Support Action Grant agreement n° 319995 
Organisation European Commission 
Department Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 10/2013 
End 10/2016
Description Royal Society MP Pairing Scheme 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact One week secondment to Westminster to work in collaboration with Dr Emma Hennessey at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015