Dr Francisco R Garcia Garcia, University of Edinburgh

receiving the Hawley Award from Dr Paul Golby CBE FREng, Chair of NATS, with Master Engineer Dr Dolores Byrne OBE [image courtesy of Mark Witter Photography].

Dr Garcia Garcia is a Senior Lecturer in Chemical Reaction Engineering at School of Engineering, The University of Edinburgh. Over the last five years he has developed pioneering hollow fibre-based adsorption technology to be used for on-board carbon capture in marine applications.

Marine transportation is an essential aspect of the world’s current economic model. In 2022 international shipping alone accounted for nearly 3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Within transportation shipping is responsible for about 11% of the world’s total CO2 emissions. (Source Sinay, 24.01.24 Accessed 22.04.2024).  The capital already invested in vessels means that retrofitting exhaust cleansing solutions to existing vessels needs to be made viable. Early industry exploration of scrubbers reduced engine efficiency and burnt more fuel.

The major breakthrough from the research by Dr Garcia Garcia has been the development of the pioneering hollow fibre-based technology. This uses a highly effective CO2 adsorbent material within a high surface area volume ratio hollow fibre-based reactor. The reactor can be flushed and the emissions stored on-board for later processing or storage. The potential of this technology enables tighter marine emission control legislation. Through this technology the UK has the opportunity to further consolidate its leadership in emission control during the transition towards 100% renewable energy.

The hollow fibre-based adsorption systems have been tested at the advanced transmission research facilities at the Repsol Technology Centre Lab. These test cells are designed to bridge the gap between the laboratory and the real world. The intellectual property generated is licensed. Stimwell Services (a North Sea Services supplier) are investing to increasing the TRL to a commercial level and are expanding their facilities with the aim to self-manufacture these systems for their customers.

The Hawley Award will be used to fund the 7th UK Emission Control Workshop (https://emissioncontrolukem.wordpress.com/previous-ukem/); this multidisciplinary workshop will focus on CCS technologies.

The Hawley Award, established in 2006, is awarded for the most outstanding Engineering Innovation that delivers demonstrable benefit to the environment, and will help to achieve Net Zero Carbon by at least 2050.  The aim is to encourage and support UK resident early career stage graduate engineers or scientists, typically within 10 years of starting their careers and who have personally produced an engineering innovation that arises from work undertaken after graduation from a UK university.  The innovation must have demonstrated at least a prototype or proof of concept and there is an expectation that the technology will be developed commercially.

The Worshipful Company of Engineers Charitable Trust (the Engineers Trust) acknowledges excellence in engineering, supports engineering education and research, gives grants and assists in the relief of hardship and poverty.