U of G Receives NSERC Funding to Study CO2 Storage

February 11, 2013 - News Release

Finding cost-effective ways to help industries reduce carbon emissions and reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas contribution are the goals of a new federally funded project involving chemists at the University of Guelph and in France.

Guelph researchers led by chemistry professor Peter Tremaine will receive $452,000 over three years from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). The funding was announced Friday in Montreal by Gary Goodyear, minister of state (science and technology).

The funding comes from NSERC's strategic projects grants program, which supports established research in targeted areas, including environment, food and sustainable energy systems. The government is investing $36 million to support 81 projects under the program this round.

Guelph’s funding will be matched by the French government for scientists at Blaise Pascal University in Clermont-Ferrand. Both groups will work with industrial partners Gas Liquids Engineering Ltd. and IFP Energies Nouvelles in Canada and France, respectively.

The team will study novel chemicals for capturing and storing carbon dioxide produced by industry.

"This is yet another example of how Guelph researchers are working to improve human and environmental health," said Kevin Hall, vice-president (research).

"Peter's work will help find new ways to reduce CO2 emissions and further strengthen U of G's reputation for helping to solve our planet's problems."

Canadian industries generate about 600 million tonnes of CO2 a year, among the highest per-capita emissions in the world, said Tremaine.

“Carbon capture and storage is an option for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and industry and for helping Canada meet targets for lowering greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming,” he said.

“Current technology for capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide from a coal-fired power station can consume as much as 30 per cent of the energy produced by the plant.”

Network researchers will study use of chemicals that trap carbon dioxide and then separate into phases under changing temperature -- “just like separating oil and water in salad dressing,” said Tremaine – to release the CO2 for storage.

“More energy-efficient processes for capturing and separating CO2 are essential if this is to be a viable technology for controlling greenhouse gases.”

The new funding will pay for post-doctoral researchers, students and research associates in both countries.

Tremaine’s research group is one of only a few worldwide with precision equipment for studying high-temperature, high-pressure chemistry for applications in nuclear power and other industries.

“This project is consistent with the University of Guelph’s BetterPlanet Project,” he said. Under that project, U of G is focusing on improving environment, health, food, communities, and teaching and learning.

“We and others in the Department of Chemistry are doing research supported by industry to address global emission problems and energy problems. It’s exciting.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, or kgonsalves@uoguelph.ca.

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