Saudi Aramco joins Rice University’s Carbon Hub with $10 million sponsorship

Photo by Amanda Drane

Doctoral candidate Oliver Dewey talks about a spinning line, which allows researchers to spin carbon fibers into yarn, inside Rice University’s Carbon Hub lab Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021 in Houston . The researchers hope that carbon nanotubes could eventually replace materials like copper and steel, the extraction of which creates a massive carbon footprint.

Godofredo A. Vásquez, Houston Chronicle / staff photographer

A Rice University research and development center has a new partner in Saudi state-owned energy and chemical companies Saudi Aramco and SABIC, which are injecting $10 million for the initiative.

Launched in 2019, the project aims to bolster “a zero-emissions future” in which hydrogen fuels and carbonaceous materials are produced together sustainably from hydrocarbons, the university said in a statement. The hub’s focus on hydrogen aligns with Aramco’s corporate goals, he said, as does the hub’s goal of developing carbon-based materials to replace emissions-intensive such as concrete, aluminum and steel.

“With this collaboration, there is great potential in the co-production of hydrogen and carbon-based materials from hydrocarbons, with the aim of significantly reducing the carbon intensity of energy systems and infrastructure worldwide,” said Ahmad Al Khowaiter, Aramco’s chief technology officer.

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