Award win for student biofuel research
Congratulations to Jiacheng Sun, PhD student at the School of Geosciences, for scooping the "Research with Impact" category in the Green Gown Awards UK & Ireland 2022.
Winners were announced at the Green Gown Awards Ceremony which took place on 8 November 2022 at Loughborough University.
We are delighted to share the news that University of Edinburgh student, Jiacheng Sun, won the "Research with Impact - Student" category.
The University was highly commended in the "Money for Good" category for our Community Grants.
Odara Medagedara, a University of Edinburgh student, was a finalist in the "Sustainability Champion - Student" category.
Our mission is to deliver positive impact for society, by discovering, developing and sharing knowledge. The University is committed to supporting a lower-carbon, healthier, more sustainable and equitable future. The Green Gown Awards provide an opportunity to recognise the efforts of our staff and students to help us achieve this.
Research with Impact - Student: winner
Jiacheng Sun, School of Geosciences, PhD student
The judges were impressed by the exceptional application and the research significance. A very impressive application with exciting future potential.
Burning fossil fuels is a major driver of the climate crisis. Meanwhile, waste from human activities can negatively affect ecosystems, contributing to the nature crisis.
Jiacheng's research addresses both aspects: climate-friendly energy production, and circular resource use.
By developing technology using fast-growing micro- and macro-algae (like seaweed) to generate heat, this research could pave the way to an alternative to fossil fuels.
An added bonus is that leftover material from the process, “biochar”, can be used to improve soil safely. This is also a form of carbon storage.
Another exciting potential use for biochar is as a material in batteries and supercapacitor electrodes, due to its electrochemical performance. Battery energy storage is becoming all the more important as on-demand fossil fuels are replaced with solar and wind, which have varying peak output times.
Not only is this system better for the environment, but offering value throughout helps reduce costs and makes it a competitive commercial product.
Top three learnings from Jiacheng
- I propose a green bioenergy strategy to mitigate climate change.
- I have integrated third-generation biofuel production and biochar-based carbon capture & storage solution into one system.
- I have contributed to a gap between research and practical markets.
Jiacheng was a Climate Innovation Grant recipient.
Highly commended and finalist achievements
Supporting local action for a better Edinburgh
The judges said this application was a fantastic example of grassroots development that can be replicable and scalable across many institutions. They were really impressed with how the institution were using their financial opportunities to support the local community to reduce inequalities. The application was clear, comprehensive and demonstrated well how they measured both impact and performance to a high standard.
Since 2017, the University of Edinburgh has provided grants to local community organisations for projects which have a positive social impact for people living locally.
While partnership between community organisations and the University is encouraged, the ethos is that communities know what they need and how to achieve it.
The University is one of very few globally to make community-led funding awards, and offers the most funding out of all.
Odara Medagedara, School of Biological Sciences, Undergraduate student
Odara established Concrete to Jungle in 2020 as a University of Edinburgh undergraduate student.
Despite the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, they ensured this award-winning sustainability project achieved its goal of increasing the involvement of plants in peoples’ lives by encouraging students to take their first steps towards growing their own food.
What are the Green Gown Awards?
The Green Gown Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the world.