Energy Academy
An international centre of excellence and a gateway to Heriot-Watt's energy research and training activities

Could coal tar by-products be used for carbon capture?

The following article appeared in Energy Live News, July 13th, 2017

A Scottish University has joined a £2.2 million Europe-wide project to find uses for coal tar by-products, including potentially in carbon capture technology. Scientists from Heriot-Watt University aim to find a purpose for the large volumes of liquids generated through the processing of coal into coke for use in steel and iron manufacturing.

Some of these materials are already used to create carbon products for the aluminium and steel industries, as well as to make resins, plastics and dyes. However, some are not currently utilised and experts believe these liquids could be used in relatively high-end applications.

The 3.5-year PROMOTEE project, which is led by the Spanish National Coal Research Institute (INCAR-CSIC) and being funded by the EU, aims to convert these lower-value liquids into new carbon materials. These could be used as electrodes in supercapacitors and lithium-ion batteries or as materials to capture carbon dioxide coming from large emitters such as cement and power plants.

Dr Susana Garcia, from Heriot-Watt University’s School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, said: “In order to increase the viability and competitiveness of European coal tar distillation plants, it is essential that we make optimum use of the coal-derived liquids that are made.”

See also: and


Dr Susana Garcia is an Assistant Professor at Heriot-Watt. Her research interests are in the fields of energy and engineering; clean coal technologies; deployment of adsorption technologies with solid sorbents for CO2 capture; new materials for CO2 capture; simulation of gas-phase adsorption processes; CO2 storage by different trapping mechanisms; experimental and modelling studies on the mineralogical changes and fluid chemistry derived from the injection of CO2 and co-injection of gas mixtures into saline aquifers; CO2 transportation for CCS and CO2 utilization.

PROMOTEE is a project supported by the European Commission until April 2020.and is led by Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Assistant Deputy Principal, Research and Innovation, and Robert M Buchan Chair in Sustainable Energy Engineering under the EU Research Fund for Coal and Steel The RFCS supports research projects in coal and steel sectors. These projects cover: production processes; application, utilisation and conversion of resources; safety at work; environmental protection and reducing CO2 emissions from coal use and steel production. The revenues generated from the assets of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) which have been transferred to the European Union in 2002 are used to support the RFCS research programme activities.



BBC News - UK fracking not viable, claims Edinburgh geologist
RT @ETPScotland: UK Energy Storage Conference(in March) Call for abstract by 30 Nov. You can get them in yet! @NCLUni…
#Energy Smart energy systems and flexibility plan. 29 actions the UK government, Ofgem and industry will take