CO2 fixation, sequestration and utilization are critical to combatting climate change. Faculty in the Center for Renewable Energy within civil, environmental, mechanical, electrical, chemical, and nuclear engineering and chemistry are advancing research in these processes through their efforts. Among their specific expertise and interests are renewably-powered recycling of carbon dioxide, artificial photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide and water into hydrocarbon fuels, sustainable chemical synthesis, bioprocess modeling, and more. One ambitious research initiative has found that liquid and supercritical carbon dioxide droplets can be stabilized by particles creating emulsions that have several advantages for carbon dioxide sequestration in geologic formations or the deep oceans, and which can also be employed for enhanced oil recovery and other valuable applications.
- Asst. Prof. Michael Ross and his lab group of students and postdocs found that metallic alloy nanoparticles absorb higher energies of light in research funded by the NSF and Office of Naval Research. This discovery could help expand the applications of light-absorbing nanoparticles, with implications for everything from Covid-19 testing applications to new ways to recycle CO2 into a renewable energy source. Read more in the article: Chemistry Lab Makes Scientific Discovery
- Assistant Prof. Maria Carreon received an NSF CAREER Award of $538,659 for "Cold plasma intensified perovskite membrane technology for CO2 utilization,” a project aiming to reach energy-efficient and flexible chemical processing conditions. Plasma catalysis will be investigated as a more sustainable alternative to dry methane reforming. This technology could potentially expand employment and business opportunities in this field. Over the next five years, Prof. Carreon says that "specific emphasis will be given to the conversion of greenhouse gases such as CO2 and CH4.” Read more in the InsideLowell article, "Trahan Announces $1 million dollars in federal funding for UMass Lowell".