24th, April, the award ceremony of the first “Yuanchuang” Cup originality and creativity contest of disruptive technology of SJTU were held.
Sum up to 3213 proposals were presented from students, teachers and tech-enthusiasts outside school, which covered topics including advanced manufacture, advanced electronic information, new material, new energy, bio-X and fundamental science. In the end, altogether 17 proposals won the award.
Doctor candidate Yang Yang, from School of Environmental Science and engineering, supervised by the Changjiang Scholar Fangming Jin, won the award, with the proposal of “By mimicking nature, amend earth carbon cycle- A new strategy of in-situ transforming CO2 with renewable biomass in water”.
This work was inspired by the natural phenomenon of the abiotic carbohydrate formation in the earth crust or hydrothermal vent (that is the phenomenon of CO2 transformation into organics under hydrothermal condition), and a brand new strategy to simultaneously convert CO2 and biomass into high-value chemicals/fuels with hydrothermal reactions was exploied.
The prime thinking came from the earth carbon cycle. Naturally, carbon source on earth maintain balance via its circulation throughout air, water, mineral and creatures. Namely, water and CO2 form biomass through photosynthesis, then biomass remain and waste produced by human will slowly sediment to earth crust and turn into coal, petroleum and natural gas. But attributed to the fast consumption of fossil energy, the natural carbon balance is disrupted, causing atmospheric CO2 accumulation and fossil fuel exhaustion. Therefore, fasten CO2 and biomass transformation into fossil fuel is a shortcut for the amendment of the imbalanced carbon cycle.
As stated before, in earth carbon cycle, hydrothermal conditions play significant role in both biomass and CO2 conversion into fossil fuels. In this geologic process, as no sunlight exist in earth crust or hydrothermal vent, the energy source for CO2 conversion are Fe2+ and H2S. Based on this, their proposal used biomass as the energy source for CO2 conversion for using the stored solar energy. By mimicking the natural phenomenon of the abiotic carbohydrate formation, they used hydrothermal reactions to develop a brand new way for the simultaneous conversion of biomass and CO2 into high-value added chemicals/fuels, which accomplishes to amend the natural earth carbon cycle.
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