Irish research teams join with US to turn carbon emissions into useable fuel

27 Jan 2015

Emissions image via Guy Gorek/Flickr

A collaborative research project with teams from Cork, Northern Ireland and the US are aiming to develop a solar-powered carbon emission converter that would turn waste product into useable fuel.

Known as the SuSChem project, the teams from the Ulster University in Derry, the Northwest University in Illinois and the Tyndall Institute are hoping that their research could lead to the development of solar-absorption material that could be implemented in power stations to significantly increase their energy production by turning it into a fuel that could be used in multiple applications.

By using what would otherwise be a harmful by-product, the SuSChem team believe they can tap into the growing photocatalyst market which they estimate its value being somewhere in the region of €1.3bn.

The trio of universities have all contributing different areas of the research, most noticeably their reactor design, synthesis & characterisation and photocatalyst materials, respectively.

Using funding provided by Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) US – Ireland R&D Partnership programme, the three-year project will also be leveraged to target EU Horizon 2020 funding in the renewable energies field.

Tyndall’s lead researcher on the project, Dr Michael Nolan said of its potential, “My team and I are delighted to work on such an ambitious project, using CO2 as an energy source with other top-class researchers. Our partners are all experts in their scientific fields and we look forward to the collaboration and bringing our expertise in photocatalyst materials to the project.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic