Prestigious award for carbon capture expert

Prof Mercedes Maroto-Valer
15 Jun 2011 12:10:56.960


A Nottingham academic has received one of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s most prestigious awards in recognition of her work to fight climate change.

Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, an engineer at The University of Nottingham, has received the 2011 Environment, Sustainability and Energy Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

The award underlines the standing of Professor Maroto-Valer’s research in the field of carbon capture and storage, which aims to siphon off greenhouse gases and store them safely – before they are released into the atmosphere.

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The award comes with an associated lectureship and will see Professor Maroto-Valer give a series of public lectures around the country over the coming year, detailing her work and that of the research team she leads.

Professor Maroto-Valer said: “I am truly honoured to receive the 2011 RSC Environment, Sustainability and Energy Award in recognition of my research contributions in carbon capture and storage.

“I am excited about the opportunities that the lectureship associated with this Award will bring by helping to promote my team’s work and forge new collaborations in different university venues in the UK.”

The RSC said the award was being made for Professor Maroto-Valer’s “internationally-recognised research at the interface between energy and the environment.”

Power plants that burn fossil fuels represent the main source of CO2 emissions, the worldwide total for which was estimated at 29.7bn metric tonnes in 2007. With the figure predicted to reach 34.3bn metric tonnes by 2015, many experts believe carbon capture and storage (CCS) will prove crucial in slowing the rise.

The UK, under its Climate Change Act, has established the most ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gases, setting a target of 80 per cent carbon dioxide emissions reduction by 2050. CCS technologies are considered an essential bridge between our present fossil energy – coal, oil and gas – and the renewable energy systems that are expected to dominate in the future.

The CCS process involves separating CO2 from other gases in an exhaust stream, transporting it to a suitable site and storing it safely – potentially for millions of years. By 2030, CCS is expected to abate between one-and-a-half and four gigatonnes of CO2 annually and be worth around £20bn a year in economic and business terms.

One of the CCS technologies being developed at The University of Nottingham allows carbon dioxide (CO2) to be ‘locked up’ inside rocks permanently, creating a solid carbonate product that can be safely stored or turned into useful product such as bricks or filler for concrete.

Professor Maroto-Valer is the Chief Scientific Officer of the National Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage, a joint partnership between the University of Nottingham and the British Geological Survey. At the University of Nottingham, she is Director of the Centre for Innovation in Carbon Capture and Storage (CICCS) and Head of the Energy and Sustainability Research Division at the Faculty of Engineering.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. More news from the University at:

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 8466893,

Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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