Dr Jin Xuan, a Senior Lecturer in Low Carbon Processes, Dr Tanja Radu, a Lecturer in Water Engineering, and Dr Jonathan Wagner, a Lecturer in Chemical Engineering, successfully bid for the grant which will come from the Department for Transport and Supergen Bioenergy Hub – a group of experts focussed on developing sustainable bioenergy systems that support the UK’s transition to an affordable, resilient, low-carbon energy future.
Their projects will explore biofuel production, bioenergy carbon capture, and storage and utilisation.
Dr Xuan’s project will look at the role of e-biofuel in reducing emissions and increasing the sustainability of the road transport sector while enhancing renewable energy security.
The research will examine the feasibility of a novel electrochemical process to produce biofuels while reusing the captured carbon dioxide.
He said: “In this project, we will develop a new concept of e-biofuel which combines the advantages of both e-fuel (produced from renewable electricity and CO2) and biofuel (produced from biomass) to intensively decarbonise the road transport sector.
“This project will support us to pioneer the research and innovation in the field of electrochemical synthesis of sustainable fuels and chemicals from biomass and captured CO2.
“It also provides Loughborough researchers with a new link to the Supergen Bioenergy Hub and the Department of Transport.”
Dr Radu will be leading research into algae-based biomethane fuel purification and carbon sequestration.
This is her second successful bid for the Supergen Bioenergy hub funding.
The project aims to develop and assess an innovative process for the simultaneous production of high-purity biomethane as a potential natural gas vehicle fuel, together with the sequestration of remaining biomass and biogas carbon into algal co-product and biochar.
She said: “The project offers an elegant and exciting solution to the problem of carbon capture and fuel purification, combined with the circular model of algal biomass production to be used for further fuel generation.
"By achieving this, we are getting one step closer to the carbon-neutral fuel production, which opens numerous other applications and possibilities for future research."
Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage is recognised as an essential part of the UK’s future energy system if it is to meet carbon reduction targets.
Director of the Supergen Bioenergy Hub, Professor Patricia Thornley, comments: “We’re delighted to make these awards to two such exciting and innovative projects.
“Carbon capture, storage and utilisation in bioenergy is a vital area of research if we are to find solutions that address the energy trilemma of security, affordability and sustainability.”
Transport and Environment Minister Jesse Norman said: “The Government is working to make all modes of transport cleaner and greener, and using new technologies to make the UK’s transition to a low-carbon energy future.
“We are delighted to join Supergen Bioenergy Hub in supporting these projects, and we look forward to seeing the outcomes of the research.”