CO2Chem Network: Establishing the UK as World Leaders in Carbon Dioxide Utilisation

Carbon Dioxide Utilisation (CDU) is the transformation of carbon dioxide waste in to value added products. This has the effect of eliminating new fossil carbon entering the supply chain and removing the CO2 (one of the main greenhouse gases) from waste streams or even the atmosphere. It can be considered as chemical storage of the CO2. This may be anywhere from short- to long-term storage depending on the product. The CO2Chem Network was established in 2010 as one of the EPSRC Grand Challenges in Physical Sciences. It has grown from 80 initial members within the UK to over 1,100 worldwide in 2016. In line with the other Grand Challenge Networks established at the same time, we are looking to extend funding to 2019, after which the network will become fully sustainable as a UK association. CO2Chem has been highly successful and is now the premier network for CDU.

The new proposal seeks to build on this expertise and help members develop their research, collaborations and funding towards 2019; a pivotal year when the financially sustained association will come into effect and when the UK will potentially leave the European Union. We will therefore explore with members the needs for operation within a global economy. In particular we will develop links with countries linked to the Global Challenges Research Fund to establish new markets for collaboration.

Emphasis will be placed on developing a strong research base in CDU through the introduction of Summer Schools for Researchers, enhanced Early Career Researcher events and a new Seedcorn Award strategy. We will also engage strongly with government to establish CDU as a key industrial and environmental strategy, especially given that CCU project commercialisation has been abandoned by UK government for the considerable future. We will work with the triple helix of academia-industry-government to develop strategies and policies for the development of fundamental, discovery level CDU projects through their translation towards commercialisation.