WVU leading the fight against climate change through $6 million NSF carbon capture and utilization project
Engineers at West Virginia University are tackling climate change in the Mountain State by using carbon capture and utilization technology to slow the rate of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere, while moving us closer to a fully renewable economy.
Story by Adrianne Uphold, Graduate Assistant
David Mebane, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and his research team lead WVU’s participation in the Tri-state Research Institute of Manufacturing for Managing CO2 (TRIMMing CO2), a recently funded National Science Foundation project that focuses on developing innovative manufacturing processes to advance carbon capture and utilization.
Mebane explained that our civilization’s technological advances have been driven by the conversion of carbon-rich fossil fuels into electricity, heat, polymers, fertilizers and other carbon-based products, which has led to catastrophic climate change. To avoid environmental collapse, researchers are aiming to reduce global emissions of carbon dioxide and remove billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere and oceans by mid-century.
“We are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate in the form of intensifying droughts, floods, fires, storms and species extinction,” Mebane said. “If our civilization is to survive, we need to regain balance with our planetary environment. Managing carbon dioxide is a critical component of that.”
Mebane is a co-principal investigator of the $6 million EPSCoR Track-2 grant. The project will develop cutting-edge technologies that will capture carbon dioxide while producing electricity, utilize carbon dioxide while storing electric energy and convert carbon dioxide to high-value chemicals.
“The fuel cell, battery and chemical processing technologies this project focuses on both capture and utilize carbon dioxide in ways that create a closed loop, thus preventing further increases in atmospheric carbon,” Mebane said.
WVU will receive approximately $1.5 million of the grant and will work alongside the project’s lead institution University of Louisiana-Lafayette, the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, Idaho National Laboratory and the National Energy Technology Laboratory located in Morgantown.
Other WVU investigators working on the project are Statler College engineers Fernando Lima, associateprofessor of chemical and biomedical engineering, and Oishi Sanyal, assistant professor of chemical and biomedical engineering. The project will provide funding for high-performance computing equipment, graduate and undergraduate research opportunities and will enable opportunities for collaboration among all the participating institutions.
“Aside from the direct federal investment in our state, the project has strong educational and workforce development components along with the potential for industrial collaboration. We hope to turn this project into jobs and opportunity for West Virginians,” Mebane said.
Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit
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