Climate change is a real threat to Earth's life, and carbon dioxide (CO2) is recognised as the major contributor. This makes the reduction in CO2 emissions a worldwide emergency and priority. To combat climate change as a result of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, efforts have already been put forth to capture and sequester CO2 from large point sources, especially power plants.
However, the utilisation of CO2 as a feedstock to produce chemicals, materials, and fuels is a judicious strategy as it provides a more economical and sustainable solution than sequestration. Currently, tremendous research is being carried out worldwide to tackle the challenge of integrating CO2 capture with its utilisation due to the ever-rising social and environmental pressure for a net zero-carbon economy.
Sunway University was one of the first universities in Malaysia to adopt the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations (UN) as a guide to shape the University research landscape by investing heavily in research to address these goals. In this regard, a Research Centre for Carbon Dioxide Capture and Utilisation (CCDCU) was established at Sunway University by Professor Mohamed Kheireddine Aroua in January 2018, aiming to integrate CO2 capture and utilisation to develop innovative processes to make CO2 capture from flue gases a profitable operation.
However, this is a huge challenge that cannot be addressed either by one person, one team, or one University. Collaborations and partnership involving different research teams, different Universities, and stakeholders from industries is the key to tackling this challenge successfully.
CCDCU is a member of the Euro-Asia CO2 Capture and Utilisation Network (EACO2CUNet) which comprises various local, regional, and International Universities towards achieving CO2 capture as one of the major versatile building blocks in the chemical industry within the next couple of decades. This partnership supports the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG13 on climate action, SDG9 on industry innovation and infrastructure, and SDG7 on affordable and clean energy. Recognising the importance of new scientific discoveries and innovative emerging technologies to mitigate CO2 emissions, CCDCU actively organises seminars to encourage deliberations and discussions in this area.
One of the seminars was ‘Emerging Technologies for CO2 Capture and Utilisation’ - integrating multinational speakers including MIT, USA, Lancaster University, UK, Greece, Singapore, Korea, UAE, Pakistan, and Indonesia along with speakers from Malaysia who shared core knowledge and discussed their most recent innovations, trends, techno-economic aspects, and concerns in particular challenges encountered and solutions adopted in the field of CO2 Capture and Utilisation. In this seminar, CCDCU researchers also discussed their knowledge, activities, and innovations and displayed state-of-the-art laboratories at Sunway University.
The next event through the same partnership will be the '2nd Euro-Asia Conference on CO2 Capture and Utilization (EACCO2CU2022)'. This conference avails the platform and opportunity for academicians, researchers, industry experts, and policymakers to meet and share their knowledge and innovative ideas as well as discuss the latest trends and challenges in CO2 capture and utilisation technologies.
The partnership with EACO2CU network certainly has strengthened the capability of CCDCU to produce high-quality research outcomes especially in tackling climate change through the state-of-the-art lab facilities and a very strong team at the University.
Dr Arifutzzaman Rahat
School of Engineering and Technology