INFUSE: Interface with the Future - Underpinning Science to Support the Energy transition

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Materials


Climate Change is the single biggest threat to present and future generations: to meet the ambitious targets for net zero CO2 set out by the UK government and in line with Paris Climate Agreement requires technological mobilization on an unprecedented scale - with action required in rapid development and deployment of new approaches. A paradigm shift in the UK's research and development capabilities is needed to reduce time to market for novel and sustainable solutions for energy production and consumption. Successful rapid translation requires partnership between academia and industry, with a shared vision and commitment.

Proposed technological strategies for CO2 reduction - either at source (you don't produce it) or post combustion mitigation (you capture and use it) - have limitations in efficiency, stability or lifetime associated with the behaviour of material interfaces in the systems, and how these interfaces change with time in the operating environments. Examples of such dynamic systems range from geological carbon capture and storage, to interfaces in new electric vehicles, to nanoscale materials for catalysts or energy harvesting. If we were able to understand and control such interfaces it would provide a transformation in our ability to create, optimize and deploy radical technological solutions to both combat climate change and create clean energy systems.

In this joint programme between Shell, Imperial College London and the UK National Synchrotron Facility - Diamond Light Source - we aim to develop entirely new capabilities to study the behaviour of interfaces under complex real world conditions - such as high temperature, flow, stress, electric fields etc. and to be able to correlate the measurements in time and across length-scales so that we build up a complete picture of interface properties and how they change. We will combine these experiments with state-of-the-art computational techniques to provide new insights into interfacial behaviour. This mechanistic platform represents the foundation that will underpin the rational design of new materials and processes with reduced energy demand, better lifetime or more robust integrity.


10 25 50