On the 4th of March, first year CSCT student Michael Joyes attended the UKCCSRC and CO2Chem organised workshop on Integrated Life Cycle Approaches for Understanding Carbon Dioxide Utilisation and Sequestration Pathways at the University of Sheffield.
Despite the long and wordy title the event was actually quite short, lasting from 10 am till 4 pm and I attended hoping to learn more about Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), Carbon Dioxide Utilisation and the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of the aforementioned processes.
The presentations were a short 15 minutes, giving a brief explanation of the problems surrounding these issues and where a consensus from the community is needed. A personal favourite of mine was a talk by Professor Peter Styring from the University of Sheffield entitled ‘Carbon Dioxide Utilisation: Myths and Magic.’ This talk focused on debunking some of the common misconceptions about CCS and Carbon Dioxide Utilisation. For example, some people proclaim that CO2 is unreactive, this was quickly shown to be untrue with a video of some room temperature CO2 reactions. Another part of the presentation demonstrated the difficulties of drawing the boundaries needed for a LCA of CCS. Do we draw the end boundary after the storage of CO2 in geological formations? Or take into account that some of the CO2 may leak in time?
After the talks had finished there was a workshop, where we focused on the bottlenecks associated with Carbon Dioxide Utilisation. It was interesting to hear about the interaction with policy makers, i.e. politicians and civil servants, and how important it is to make the government aware of the evidence related to the science in a clear and concise way.
I had a great day in Sheffield, despite the 5:30am start, and really enjoyed seeing how scientists come together to discuss issues and it has given me a greater appreciation for how an idea is taken from inception to the lab, to a pilot plant and then potentially forming government policy.
Mike is in cohort '14 of the CSCT and is currently working on his first MRes project with Dr Davide Mattia (Chemical Engineering) and Dr Matthew Jones (Chemistry).