The Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage Centre, one of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI)’S Low-Carbon Energy Centres, has awarded $900,000 to two research projects aiming to advance technologies that avoid carbon emissions entering the atmosphere.

Led by Principal Investigator Asegun Henry and Co-Principal Investigator Paul Barton, the winning project is aiming to produce hydrogen without CO2 emissions while creating a second revenue stream of solid carbon.

“Hydrogen is essential to modern life, as it is primarily used to make ammonia for fertilizer, which plays an indispensable role in feeding the world’s 7.5 billion people,” says Henry.

“But we need to be able to feed a growing population and take advantage of hydrogen’s potential as a carbon-free fuel source by eliminating CO2 emissions from hydrogen production.”

“Our process results in a solid carbon by-product, rather than CO2 gas. The sale of the solid carbon lowers the minimum price at which hydrogen can be sold to break even with the current, CO2 emissions-intensive process.”

The additional project, led by principal investigator Matěj Peč seeks to expand understanding of new processes for storing CO2 in basaltic rocks by converting it from an aqueous solution into carbonate minerals.

With his project, “High-fidelity monitoring for carbon sequestration: integrated geophysical and geochemical investigation of field and laboratory data,” Peč plans to conduct a comprehensive study to gain a holistic understanding of the coupled chemo-mechanical processes that accompany CO2 storage in basaltic reservoirs, with hopes of increasing adoption of this technology.

“The funding by MITEI’s Low-Carbon Energy Centre for Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage allows me to start a new research direction, bringing together a group of experts from a range of disciplines to tackle climate change, perhaps the greatest scientific challenge our generation is facing,” says Peč.

The winning project will receive $750,000 and the additional project will receive $150,000.