Carbon Recycling

NASA awards $25,000 FSGC Grant to Greg Felton for Research on Carbon Recycling

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Key Highlights

  • The research by professor Greg Felton and his students is being done to find a way of reusing carbon dioxide
  • Carbon recycling could one day be used for fuel production that will make space travel more efficient
  • The research will be started by converting carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide and then isolating that carbon

Team of Researchers

Greg Felton, an associate professor of Chemistry at Eckerd College along with his three students has been conducting research on ‘Carbon Recycling’. Greg Felton is a native of the United Kingdom and has graduated from the University of Leicester. He has been working on this project since 2017 after joining Eckerd as a professor.

Anthony AJ Gross, a junior biochemistry student has also been working with Felton on this research. AJ, who is from Princeton, Minnesota, met Felton at the Chemistry Club table in a club fair during his first year in college. Alongside AJ, the team of researchers to work with Felton includes students named Jillian Campbell, Lia Perez, and Maya Beck.

Recently, the team has received a $25,000 FSGC grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Florida Space Grant Consortium (FSGC) to continue the research. The research is supposed to begin in January 2022.

How does the Research contribute to Space Travel?

NASA has provided the FSGC grant to the researchers hoping that the research could one day provide a way to recycle carbon for fuel production required for space travel. This is because Felton has been thinking of finding a way to recycle carbon from human respiration for food or fuel production making space travel more efficient. Many others including AJ thought that this research was about climate change but Felton’s theory about fuel production for space travel has made everyone more interested.

Aim of the Research

The research will be initiated by converting carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide. They will then isolate the carbon from carbon monoxide which will be utilized and re-used. Currently, to maintain and keep the oxygen levels sustainable during space travel, carbon dioxide is exhausted out of the vessel. It will require large-scale artificial photosynthesis to turn that carbon dioxide for re-use. However, if the research is successful, this process will be carried out more efficiently.

Instruments used for Research

Many great chemistry instruments are being used for this research including the 300-MHz NMR spectrometer that allows researchers to view the molecules in compounds. The spectrometer works just like an MRI machine that is used by doctors to view inside the human body.

Also Read: AMP Robotics introduces AI-controlled sortation to improve recycling



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