Two McGill researchers receive $500,000 grants to find innovative uses for carbon


The Alberta-based Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC) announced on April 15, that two McGill researchers are among the 24 winners of $500,000 grants to transform carbon dioxide into useful products.

Published on April 16, 2014 | McGill Publications
Written by: Meaghan Thurston

Zetian Mi, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Yixin Shao, Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Civil Engineering received the grants as part of the CCEMC Grand Challenges program. In addition to the funding, they will receive access to a support team who will help them to develop their idea.

Finalists of the Grand Challenges program were selected from 344 submissions from 37 countries on six continents.

Mi’s project will advance the development of a carbon dioxide (CO2) transformation system, which will include reaction chambers where carbon dioxide and water (H2O) are transformed into commercially-valuable chemical products. Powered by solar energy, the chambers will be designed to allow for on-site installation in proximity to the CO2 source. The products will have wide marketability and can significantly reduce, or even offset the cost associated with CO2 capture.

Shao’s project will explore new ways to use CO2 in the production of concrete blocks. As one of the most widely used man-made products on the planet, concrete emits a lion’s share of CO2. Dr. Shao is investigating how carbon dioxide can be converted into a solid, value-added material with enhanced physical properties, thereby improving the standard concrete block and reducing the harmful environmental impact of CO2 emissions from its production and use.