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UNM academics secure funding to explore accelerated weathering of limestone


University of Nottingham Malaysia’s (UNM) Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering academics Dr Ianatul Khoiroh and Professor Dr Ir Dominic Foo have secured a financial contribution from Cquestr8 Sdn Bhd, an organisation seeking billion-tonne-scale carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies.

Cquestr8 Sdn Bhd was established by chemical engineers Steve Willis and Jerry Joynson, who have over 60 years of collective success in technical and innovative environments within large industrial organisations.

The funds received from this organisation will be used to study the reaction mechanism of the accelerated weathering of limestone (AWL) to capture carbon dioxide and store it primarily as bicarbonate in the marine environment.

“I am glad that Cquestr8 Sdn Bhd entrusted us with this short-term project. It serves as the fundamental studies that will assist the global community in combating climate change issues through enhanced weathering,” said Professor Ir Dr Foo.

The preliminary stage of the project commenced on 1 June 2021 and is currently being carried out over the summer from June to August 2021 by Boaz Chung Yi Heng, a MEng in Chemical Engineering student, currently in his third year from the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering.

“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering department at Nottingham University on this most pressing problem,” said Willis.

There is an urgent need for large scale carbon dioxide removal processes. Nature-based solutions including re/afforestation, rewilding and so on are necessary but not sufficient, and whilst there are several methods for industrial capture and concentration of CO2 there is a lack of secure sequestration pathways for that CO2.

AWL is a low-tech, highly scalable method that can be used by any industry, that mimics the natural weathering process, and which offers a huge potential in reducing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The use of AWL for carbon dioxide removal has gained renewed interest from industry because of the potential energy saving of the process and ability to integrate with the effluent gas streams from cement and steel plants.

In addition, AWL also helps reduce the impact of ocean acidification by strengthening the chemical pH buffer and facilitates the natural cycle of carbon dioxide removal in the atmosphere by seawater.

“I am very excited to work with Cquestr8 to investigate AWL reactions. We hope the results will contribute to tackling climate change problems due to carbon dioxide emissions,” said Dr Ianatul.

(Article and thumbnail caption: Cquestr8 Sdn Bhd and UNM team photo during the virtual agreement signing on 14 June 2021. Top row, from left to right: Steve Willis, Boaz Chung Yi Heng, Professor Dr Ir Dominic Foo. Bottom, from left to right: Dr Ianatul Khoiroh, UNM Interim Vice-Provost (Research and Knowledge Exchange) Professor Andy Chan, Jerry Joynson.)


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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posted on 13th July 2021

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