Mass spectrometers, LED light transmitters, and a washing machine were all part of the mix when local MSP Daniel Johnson visited the University of Edinburgh to meet SCCS researchers at the cutting edge of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.
Mr Johnson toured three laboratories at the King’s Buildings science and technology campus to find out more about work under way to support the development of the climate change technology.
His first stop was the School of Engineering, where he learned how scientists there are finding new and more efficient ways to capture carbon dioxide (CO₂) from industrial gases, to prevent it from entering the atmosphere.
Prof Stefano Brandani, Chair in Chemical Engineering, described the “zero length column” systems used to test new adsorbent materials for their ability to capture CO₂. Dr Maria-Chiara Ferrari, Senior Lecturer, then showed Mr Johnson some of their work on developing membranes for separating CO₂ from other gases.
Both of these areas of research will help to reduce the cost and energy needed to capture CO₂ efficiently and in large volumes from heavy industry, supporting the UK’s efforts to meet climate change targets cost-effectively.
At the School of Geosciences, Mr Johnson was introduced to research to ensure that captured CO₂, which could come from a range of emitters – from industrial processes to distilleries – is stored safely and securely over a kilometre below the seabed.
Dr Katriona Edlmann, Senior Post-Doctoral Researcher, described the rock types used in the geological storage of CO₂ and provided Mr Johnson with an overview of the range of equipment she uses to recreate the conditions of geological storage. She explained how the facility effectively provides a window into the subsurface, enabling her team to investigate the movement and behaviour of CO₂ when stored in certain rocks deep below ground.
Daniel Johnson MSP said: “The work being done around carbon capture and storage at King’s Buildings in Edinburgh is world-leading. It was a privilege to see the cutting-edge technology and to meet the scientists working with universities throughout the UK and beyond on this important area of research.”
During his visit, Mr Johnson also toured the Process Lab, where he saw adsorbents – materials used to trap CO2 from industrial flue gases – being tested in larger-scale equipment, including a rotary wheel adsorber that uses Lifi (wireless networking using LED lights) to transmit data, and a six-column pressure swing adsorption system.
And the washing machine? It turned out to be a washer dryer adapted for the Process Lab to help enhance the drying abilities of different adsorbents.
|Prof Stefano Brandani with Daniel Johnson MSP at the School of Engineering's Process Labs. Photo: Gavin Donoghue|