Reducing CO2 emissions in manufacturing processes and converting CO2 into commercial products through nanocatalysis.
Climate change is one of the most significant challenges towards achieving sustainable development. Carbon dioxide emissions continued to increase up to 32.5 gigatons in 2017 and the United Nations have reported that the world must eliminate 12-14 gigatons of CO2 up to 2030.
Australia's 2030 climate change target is to reduce 171 million tonnes of emissions (26-28% based on 2005 levels). The development of sustainable manufacturing is therefore an urgent challenge to deliver more energy and necessary products for our increasing human population, while reducing CO2 emissions to the global environment.
This Grand Challenge (GC) will develop new nanotechnologies that use CO2 as a resource to produce fuels and chemicals, as well as new energy conversion and storage technologies to reduce CO2 emissions.
The challenge here lies in the stability of CO2 such that its conversion requires extremely high activation energies. For example, CO2 splitting requires a temperature higher than 2000 oC, which is not possible for large scale manufacturing.
Catalysts can reduce the activation energy, and are industrially significant, contributing 35% of the world’s GDP. With catalysts, CO2 conversion can be realised at relatively milder temperatures of 800 oC. Nanocatalysts are considerably active and are proposed to reduce conversion temperatures to 200 oC. This GC will develop new nanocatlaysts with new process to produce clean fuels and valuable chemicals.
Moreover, the GC will develop nanomaterials for cells, batteries, and renewable fuels, and will use these clean energy conversion and storage processes to replace the traditional energy devices to reduce CO2 emissions.
The ultimate goal is a new smart and sustainable Australian manufacturing sector which aims to increase CO2 conversion and energy efficiency.
The Grand Challenge assembles leading scientists and cross-Faculty capacities to develop innovative nanotechnology solutions for smart and sustainable manufacturing.
We will achieve this through the creation of novel concepts and methodologies that ultilise CO2 as a resource for fuels and valuable industrial products. We will also discover new industrial systems with unprecedented high performance and efficiency for CO2 conversion and reduction. New paradigms will be realised via a new way of thinking in nanoscience and nanotechnology: through the combination of nanomaterials synthesis, process engineering, data science, molecular science and computation, augmented by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and in situ/operando nanoscale characterisation tools of unprecedented power.
Instilling such new thinking in nanotechnology research will contribute towards innovations in nanocatalysts, material and energy storage devices, and processes.
The ultimate goal is a new smart and sustainable Australian manufacturing sector which aims to increase CO2 conversion and energy efficiency as well as reducing CO2 emissions and energy consumption.