Image created by Muhammad Waqas Iqbal

Nature-Inspired Solutions for Carbon Transformation

International leaders have agreed that global warming must not exceed 1.5 degrees celsius (Paris Agreement), however, we have not made sufficient progress towards slowing the growth of carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases.  Direct capture of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is one possible solution, but existing technologies are costly and limited in capacity compared to the staggering scale of emissions.  This research theme seeks to improve upon existing technologies by exploring nature-inspired solutions to carbon capture and transformation. 

In the natural world, sequestration of carbon occurs through processes such as photosynthesis in plant systems and mineralization in geological systems.  Here we seek to develop engineered systems to capture carbon by mimicking nature.  Specifically, we focus on utilization of waste streams as carbon sources (e.g. wastewater, agricultural residues) and processes that yield value-added by-products.  Our team strives to take a holistic view of the carbon cycle, just like in nature, and to further develop the concept of a sustainable circular economy. 

Our approach to developing nature-inspired solutions is collaborative and interdisciplinary.  Our team will engage with stakeholders from different levels of government to gain a full picture of the social, economic, environmental factors that must be considered when developing and implementing these technologies.