Objectives

The £1 million Flexible Fund will fill in research and engagement gaps and needs identified during the research programme. The fund will support work through three approaches: 1. Support for innovation; 2. Capacity building – including a new Future Leaders Network, funded secondments, workshops and skills development, with focus on early careers; 3. Engagement with stakeholders.

Our Approach

Innovative new GGR approaches will be supported by an annual Pathfinders’ competition. Information about the first projects is available below. Funded projects will explore new methods for capturing greenhouse gases from ambient air or the marine environment and durably storing or converting them. Projects which strategically address part of a removal method (such as capture, purification, or novel approaches to storage or conversion) were considered, as well as full-chain methods.
~ £600k to be committed; look out for the next invitation to apply in September.

First innovation Pathfinder projects
Following an open competition, the first innovation Pathfinder projects are about to commence. They are:

The Use of co-pyrolyzed biochar in Carbon-Negative Hydrogen Production (HyBECCS) from bio-organic wastes
Ondrej Masek - University of Edinburgh
The project aims to develop algal biochar as an effective additive to enhance the performance of HyBECCS systems. To boost the physicochemical properties of algal biochar the study will use a blend of algal biomass with marine plastic waste - simultaneously helping address GGR & plastic pollution.

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Evolved aquatic microbial communities to sequester atmospheric CO2
Rodrigo Ledesma-Amaro - Imperial College, London

This project aims to combine algae with other microbial organisms to create microbial communities of algae with improved growth rates and robustness. Successful combinations will be subjected to adaptive laboratory evolution, allowing for the accumulation of genetic mutations that improve biological fitness and growth rates. The evolved algal consortia will be biochemically analysed for their biomass composition - identifying biomolecules that can be sold to offset the algae biomass production costs.

The project envisions a solar-powered, self-sustaining, and profitable algal industry that stimulates the economy by selling products synthesised from atmospheric carbon dioxide.

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Methane Removal and Remediation Using Chlorine Radicals
Qingchun Yuan - Aston University

This project aims to degrade methane at venting sites with chlorine radicals generated from seawater and to enhance this natural atmospheric methane sink. The approach targets removing methane emitted in agriculture and waste management sectors in the UK and if successful, the technique may be scaled and improved to remove ambient atmospheric methane.

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Enzyme-Enhanced Carbon Capture and Storage Solutions in Basaltic Rock
Craig Storey - University of Plymouth

Sequestration in basalt rock requires innovation to adapt the technique & grow the necessary storage sites globally. The mineralisation reaction occurs naturally in Iceland (CarbFix) where the host rock is naturally hot (in approx. two years). As most other basaltic host rocks are far cooler, innovation will be required. The project will explore if adding carbonic anhydrase into basaltic rocks can drastically increase the rates at which CO2 can react with elements in these rocks to form stable minerals.