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Back to the Future Faculty of Engineering & Science

Wednesday 6 April 2016
6pm - 8pm

Back to the Future: CO2 and the Age of Man

Man's activities have now altered our planet in ways that cannot be undone. These include the mass extinction of species, the worldwide distribution of pollutants and the warming of our atmosphere. These impacts herald a new geological Epoch called the Anthropocene and it recognises Man is having a global impact on climate, geology and ecosystems.

Professor C D Hills compares the Earths geological past with our current climate. He discusses the conditions prevailing during the Cretaceous period, a time when dinosaurs walked the Earth and amount of CO2 in the atmosphere was greater than today. Then, our planet was rapidly storing carbon dioxide in the geosphere via its mineralisation in the oceans. These natural negative feedback mechanisms provide guidance on potential options for the mitigation of harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, by understanding the perturbations in our climate and what the geological record tells us, we can go back to the future and industrialise the mineralisation of CO2 but in in a cost-effective and sustainable way.

Professor Hills' research draws upon natural mechanisms of CO2 mitigation. By combining gaseous and solid waste in an innovative zero-emissions process, an artificial rock can be produced that is truly carbon negative -it contains more CO2 than was liberated during its manufacture.

Thus, Accelerated Carbonation Technology can be used to mineralise CO2 in the manufacture of useful sustainable products, including aggregates that can be used in construction. Ultimately, it is the large-scale use of CO2 as a resource that may ensure Mans legacy is not confined to a small, finite layer of rock buried in the geological record.

Further information

The lecture starts at 6pm. From 7pm a finger buffet, wine and soft drinks will be served. Professor Hills will also be available to discuss his work.
Places are free, but must be booked by the 30th March 2016. Please contact Claire Sheppard on +44 (0) 1634 883625 or