Decarbonize and Get Hydrogen for Free
In partnership with Rice University’s School of Engineering, we are honored to present to you the latest installment of the Mehta Family Foundation Lecture Series. We take great pride in curating a series of engaging talks presented by the most influential and accomplished researchers, thinkers, and creators of our time. These lectures are carefully designed to expand upon new and important ideas that are at the forefront of their fields. By participating in our lecture series, we believe that you are helping us to bring greater access to these new and exciting ideas to a larger and more diverse audience. We are confident that you will each of these lectures feeling inspired and intellectually invigorated.
We can use carbon to decarbonize and get hydrogen for free
Addressing CO2 emissions presents society with significant challenges, including developing new clean energy sources, transitioning to electric vehicles using lighter materials, industrial decarbonization, and managing the economic impact of a declining fossil fuel industry. While these issues may seem conflicting, a unified solution could emerge: utilizing carbon as a material instead of a fuel source.
The shift towards sustainable energy also necessitates a transition in materials. The reliance on metals is increasingly problematic due to the environmental impact of mining, energy-intensive production processes that emit CO2, and their inherent inefficiency due to high density. Carbon-based materials present a promising alternative, potentially eliminating CO2 emissions and fostering a sustainable, circular economy.
Carbon Nanotube (CNT) materials, derived from hydrocarbons, show potential in replacing metals like copper, aluminum, and steel, especially once they become cost-competitive. An added benefit of CNT production is the generation of hydrogen as a byproduct, which could significantly contribute to hydrogen availability at a large scale. In my discussion, I’ll explore both the challenges and opportunities in making this visionary approach a reality.