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Dr Amanda Garcia of the Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) has been awarded a competitive top-up grant for Responsible Innovation of 325,000 euros, as part of the program on ElectroChemical Conversion and Materials (ECCM) from the Dutch Research Council NWO. It concerns research on 'Carbon capture and utilisation - historical context, technological challenges and societal acceptability' that will be carried out in collaboration with Prof. Gadi Rothenberg (HIMS) and Prof. John Grin from UvA's Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

Dr Amanda Garcia. Image: HIMS.

"Tackling CO2 emissions requires new technological solutions, but technology alone is not enough", says Garcia. She explains that establishing a worldwide energy transition requires public participation and confidence. "This project is about understanding the historical, political, and social factors that shape the public’s perception of new energy technologies".

Socio-technical scenarios

Amanda Garcia joined the Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences in 2020 with an NWO-ECCM tenure-track grant for her research on 'Electro-organic coupling reactions: from fundamental to cell design'. This is aimed at using renewable electricity for the electrochemical conversion of CO2, nitrogen compounds, and other organic molecules into valuable products like carboxylic acid and amines. As such, her research will contribute to achieving the CO2 zero-emission goal of the European Union by 2050. The recent top-up grant for Responsible Innovation enables her to broaden the scope of her research beyond technology and to develop socio-technical scenarios with special emphasis on electrochemistry as an enabler of carbon capture and utilisation. "These scenarios will help us to develop strategies for successful implementation and acceptance of the new electrochemical technologies."

The three-year research project involves the appointment of a postdoc supervised by Dr Garcia in collaboration with Prof. Rothenberg and Prof. Grin. In addition, six master students will have the opportunity to participate in the project.

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