CCSWinterSchool 2019 at University of Sheffield

This blog post is originally published on the official website of UKCCSRC and has been modified. Click HERE to see the original blog post.

This blog was provided by Li Anne Cheah, a PhD student at the Heriot-Watt University, whose attendance at the 2019 Winter School was supported by the UK CCS Research Centre (UKCCSRC). The 2019 winter school took place in the Halifax Hall, Sheffield from 12th to 14th February. The researchers involved, ranging from 1st year PhD/EngD students to research fellow, were from the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in CCS and Cleaner Fossil Energy and UKCCSRC. The main goal of the school is to help the development of interdisciplinary knowledge exchange to apply research in the field of the energy sector and carbon capture and storage (CCS). In addition to that, students are expected to acquire transferable skills such as networking, communication and professional practice skills.

The School started with a warm welcome from Prof. Colin Snape, the director of EPSRC Centre of Doctoral Training in CCS and Cleaner Fossil Energy, followed by Dr. Robin Irons, the associate professor at the University of Nottingham who shared us an overview of the UK energy shift in 2019. Energy storage is a pressing issue now due to the increasing demand to generate energy from intermittent renewables energy and further development is vital to ensure energy security in the era of extreme climates. The Anticyclone Hartmut, or more commonly known as the “Beast from the East” was cited here because of the disruption caused due to heavy snow and a sharp rise in power demands as temperatures plummeted.

Two representatives from the Environmental Agency – Andy Barker and Lucy Snape, informed the latest updates, regulations and the societal response surrounding fracking. Dr. Mai Bui, from the Clean Fossil and Bioenergy Research Group (CleanFaB) presented her new review paper on CCS. Scientists are shifting their focus into negative emission technologies (NETs) such as Bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and Direct Air Capture (DAC). One key message that I understood from here is that CCS techniques are becoming more matured and provided more routes to decarbonize the industry. In other words, we may not need a one-size fit all answer for CCS. All carbon-emitting sectors, at different scales and locations in the globe, may require different approaches to reduce the emissions. The session closed with an interactive career talk with Vince Pizzoni, Associate Professor and Career Coach at the University of Nottingham.

Li Anne Cheah and her poster on “Layered Double Hydroxides: A systematic approach to investigate effect of Mg: Al ratio on the CO2 uptake capacity”

The second day of winter school started with poster presentations from second-year Students. A short description of their work is expected and receives feedback from all attendees and industrial mentors. I presented my poster titled on “Layered Double Hydroxides: a systematic approach to investigate the effect of Mg: Al ratio on CO2 capture capacity”. What I find very motivating is that even though not all the attendees were from the background of CCS, however, they are very keen to learn your project and happily share their research knowledge. In addition to that, the industrial mentors were also willing to provide feedback and guidance to complement the research ideas.  The session then continued with Prof. Jon Gibbins, the director of UK CCS Research Centre, giving his insights on some practical considerations for the deployment of CCS and followed by Philip Sharman, the director of International Flame Research Foundation (IFRF) on the new generation combustion technologies. Third-year presentations then fill in the rest of the day three.