Monash University has unveiled the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Hub for Carbon Utilisation and Recycling (RECARB), a pioneering research facility with a mission to advance technologies to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into valuable products while establishing markets for carbon-embedded goods.
The launch ceremony took place last week at the university’s Clayton campus and was conducted by Cassandra Fernando MP, representing Jason Clare MP, Minister for Education.
The ARC is supporting RECARB with AUD$5 million (approx. USD$3.2 million), bolstered by AUD$5.8 million from universities and industry partners, along with in-kind contributions worth AUD$11.8 million.
RECARB will spearhead innovative initiatives aimed at addressing carbon emissions originating from the energy and manufacturing sectors.
It will act as a nexus, uniting international and national universities with industry collaborators, focusing on the conversion of CO2 emissions into practical resources.
This undertaking aligns with the shifting perspective on carbon emissions, transitioning from viewing them as pollutants to exploring their potential as valuable resources with diverse applications.
Professor Paul Webley, RECARB’s director, emphasized the pivotal role of research hubs in fostering collaboration between academia and industry, translating research into tangible solutions.
Monash University’s strong track record in industry collaboration and sustainability positions RECARB as a leader in carbon recycling and reuse research, he noted.
Over the next five years, the hub will concentrate on developing cutting-edge technologies to reduce and repurpose carbon emissions into high-value products such as acetic acid, stock feed, methanol, and various chemicals.
The research will encompass electrochemical, thermochemical, and biological approaches, including the exploration of direct air capture (DAC) technology to recycle CO2, offering a sustainable source for agricultural benefit and valuable product creation.
Additionally, plasmonics, an emerging field in sustainable chemistry, is being explored for its potential to convert CO2 into valuable chemicals using solar energy.
Professor Akshat Tanksale, deputy director of RECARB, stressed the importance of practical applications in advancing these technologies, particularly developing pilot CO2-to-product and CO2-recycling processes that can be scaled up by industry.