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RICH research themes are aligned with UAE and KU strategic goals to educate and develop valuable knowledge for energy and the environment. The four main themes covered by the center are CO2 capture, CO2 utilization, H2 production, storage and distribution, and Outreach and dissemination.

The themes and topics covered by RICH are aligned with the strategic priority that KU places in research and education for energy and the environment as well as the strategy of the UAE. Some selected projects are directly funded by the initial seed provided by Khalifa University to support the center, while other parallel projects complement the activities carried on by the center. The center is divided in four interconnected themes 


Research themes
1. CO2 Capture 2. CO2 Utilization 3. Hydrogen Production, Storage and Distribution 4. Outreach and Dissemination
1. CO2 Capture
CO2 Capture

ADVANCED SORBENT DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION FOR CO2 CAPTURE HYBRID SYSTEMS

The objective of this project is to develop novel sorbent for carbon dioxide capture applications using hybrid systems. This includes steps such as synthesis of solid adsorbent, characterization of solid adsorbent, surface functionalization of solid adsorbent, selection, synthesis, and evaluation of liquid absorbent, evaluation of the CO2 capture hybrid system using major process performance indicators such as absorption capacity, selectivity, sorbent stability, energy requirement and mass transfer efficiency. In addition, the experimental evaluation and selection of the different sorbent materials will be supported by molecular modelling and mass transfer/diffusion modelling.

ADVANCED CO2 CAPTURE PROCESSES EVALUATION AND INTEGRATION

The objective of this project is o develop an integrated framework for the design and analyses of intensified and novel CO2 capture system with improved efficiency, lower energy requirement and reduced cost. Figure 2 exhibits the current status of CO2 capture technologies and its readiness to commercialization.

2. CO2 Utilization
CO2 Utilization

SOLAR-DRIVEN CONVERSION OF CO2 AND H2S INTO FUEL PRODUCTION

The objective of this project is to develop and optimize solar-driven photochemical and thermochemical processes for the production of fuels and products (H2, CO, O2 and S) from H2S/CO2 splitting, both very abundant in the UAE, using novel materials, demonstrating their technical feasibility.

MACHINE LEARNING APPROACH FOR NOVEL MATERIALS DEVELOPMENT

In this project,we make use of machine learning techniques to develop advanced molecular models of new materials for CO2 conversion and H2 production. We are using a computational design environment involving high-throughput as well as detailed theoretical studies along with data mining and the information from P2.1 and P3.1.

DIRECT CONVERSION OF CO2 INTO VALUABLE PRODUCTS: FROM WASTE TO MATERIALS

Firmly based in the concept of sustainability, in this project we are working on converting alkaline wastes to valuable materials for direct applications through carbonation process. The focus is on two types of wastes: Steel slag produced from the steelmaking industry and brine produced from water desalination, both of them abundant in the UAE and the region. Figure 3 shows the different pathways of CO2 usage and its conversion to different value-added products.

3. Hydrogen Production, Storage and Distribution
Hydrogen Production, Storage and Distribution

MATERIALS AND SYSTEMS FOR H2 PRODUCTION AND STORAGE

H2 production and storage are key enabling technologies for the advancement of H2 and fuel cells in applications such as stationary power, portable power and transportation. We aim at the development of novel, highly efficient materials-based H2 processes for production and storage systems.

AMMONIA AS A CARBON-LESS FUEL USING HYDROGEN

The objective of this project is to establish the scientific fundamentals that will allow the use of ammonia as carbon-less fuel in existing power infrastructure, i.e. gas turbines and reciprocating internal combustion engines. Of particular importance is to address the issues that have so far hindered this application, namely long ignition delays, NOx production and fuel management.

INTEGRATED APPROACH FOR STRATEGIC PLANNING OF H2/CO2 NETWORKS

In this project, we are developing an integrated framework for strategic planning and modeling of hydrogen/CO2 network. The framework presents a systematic approach to obtain an optimal design and operation of H2/CO2 network, including production/processing, transportation, and utilization. In order to develop such a framework, we are creating a superstructure that consists of several nodes that are available to exchange quantities of material and energy. The second phase of the project will involve integration and coordination schemes under uncertainty through mixed integer programming. A particular case will be the optimized network of CO2 for EOR for the UAE.

4. Outreach and Dissemination
Outreach and Dissemination

The specific objective of Outreach and Dissemination include:

  • To spread the information regarding the existence and functioning of the RICH Center, both, regionally as well as internationally.
  • To promote and foster academic-industry partnership by engagement and interaction with relevant industries present in the region by matching the proposed Research Center’s expertise, experience and innovations to the requirement of the industry.
  • To train highly skilled scientist and engineers to lead novel materials and clean energy development
  • To increase the research reputation and international visibility of KU
  • To raise funding and additional support to the center by organizing workshops technical days and devoted courses
  • To serve the governmental agencies in the UAE in terms of PMI and other commitments
  • To educate the community and society in clean energy, sustainability and hydrogen economy
External Collaborators

Organizations & Companies

  • European Hydrogen Association, Europe
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia
  • IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Program (IEAGHG), Europe
  • EU-GCC Clean Energy Technology Network, Europe-GCC
  • Institute of Energy Economics of Japan (IEEJ), Japan
  • Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), Europe
  • RTI International, USA
  • International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I2CNER), Japan and USA
  • Air Liquide
  • Masdar Clean Energy, Mubadala
  • Advanced Turbine Development/Creative Power Solution (ATD/CPS)
  • Emirates Steel
  • ADNOC

Academic Institutions

  • Nilay Shah, Head of Department, Chemical Engineering, Imperial College, UK
  • Paitoon (PT) Tontiwachwuthikul, Director Clean Energy Technologies Institute (CETRi) at the University of Regina, Canada
  • Michael Tsapatsis, John Hopkins University, USA
  • Perla Balbuena, Texas A&M, USA
  • Joan Ramon Morante, Director, Catalonian Institute for Energy Research (IREC), Spain
  • George Romanos, Research Director at the Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (INN)/National Center for Scientific Research “Demokritos”, Greece
  • Earl Goetheer, principal scientist Process Technology at the department of Sustainable Process and Energy Systems of TNO (Dutch institute for applied research), the Netherland
  • Joao AP Coutinho, Vice-director, Aveiro Institute of Materials CICECO, University of Aveiro, Portugal

External Sponsors

ADNOC, Ministry of Climate Change & Environment, Ministry of Energy & Industry, Emirates Steel, The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ), and International Energy Agency (IEAGHG)