Two Imperial engineers have been awarded Royal Academy of Engineering research fellowships.
The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Research Chair and Senior Research Fellowships Scheme aims to strengthen the links between industry and academia by supporting exceptional academics in UK universities to undertake use-inspired research that meets the needs of their industrial partners.
Dr Sam Krevor, from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering, has been awarded a Senior Fellowship in partnership with Shell. Professor Ben Glocker, from the Department of Computing, has been awarded a Research Chair in partnership with Kheiron Medical Technologies.
Dr Sam Krevor has been awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Senior Fellowship to continue his work on CO2 storage.
The fellowship will allow the further study of challenges involved in trapping CO2 underground, a vital process in the prevention of climate change. Projections based on the amount of oil currently produced predict that gigatonnes of CO2 will need to be stored by 2050.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is used as a tool to mitigate climate change as the transition away from fossil fuels is not sufficient to reduce the amount of carbon being released in the atmosphere by humans.
Research funded by the fellowship will investigate both modelling of the flow of trapped CO2 and also how the process can be scaled up and used around the world. Commercial CO2 storage facilities are currently operating in North America, Brazil, Norway, China, and Australia.
The fellowship is provided in partnership with Shell, building on existing links between academia and business. A representative from Shell said: ‘Shell believes that finding ways to deploy carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies at scale is essential to help tackle climate change, and will be important to help it achieve its ambition to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050. While megaton-scale CCS is an existing technology, as demonstrated by ongoing CCS operations including Shell’s Quest operation, gigatonne-scale CCS raises new challenges around CO2 storage management over regional scales. The research proposed under this fellowship will tackle key questions in two areas in which progress is needed to enable gigatonne scale storage – improved understanding of the subsurface fluid dynamics of CO2 injection and the geophysical and techno-economic limitations to scaling up the use of subsurface stores across regions and the globe.’
A recent paper published in Nature Reviews Earth & Environment by Dr Krevor explored the challenges in employing underground carbon storage which is currently being used at the megatonne scale. While the geological and engineering hurdles to underground storage have been overcome, there is substantial work at the societal and economic scale to take place before the technology can be widely implemented.
Image caption: Geological settings of industrial CO2 storage deployment today
Dr Krevor was appointed Associate Editor of the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control in January 2023 and is also serving as a Distinguished Lecturer of the Society of Petroleum Engineers between October 2022 and June 2023. On receiving the award, he said: ‘I am honoured to be awarded this fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering, and grateful to my industrial partner Shell for their support. This fellowship enables me to extend the work of my research group in scaling up carbon storage underground at a key point in time for the technology and for the fight against climate change. Reaching CO2 mitigation at the scale of gigatonnes per year would be a signal achievement in the fight against climate change. Carbon storage underground in the offshore resources of the UK, and around the world, is poised to achieve this in the coming decades. The Senior Research Fellowship provides an important platform for translating our research into impacts in the arenas of science, engineering, business, and policy that are needed to accelerate the deployment of this technology.’
Professor Ben Glocker has been awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair for his work on the safe deployment of medical imaging AI.
His work at the intersection of computer science, AI and healthcare seeks to develop computational tools that can be used to support the early detection of diseases such as breast cancer.
AI has great potential for providing more objective and accurate analysis of medical images, improving the efficiency of clinical workflows when health services are under considerable pressure. Professor Glocker’s research aims to ensure that AI image analysis is safe for clinical use by monitoring the robustness, reliability and fairness of the algorithms used.
Professor Glocker’s team at Imperial will work closely with Kheiron Medical Technologies, a leader in medical imaging AI with extensive clinical partnerships across the UK and worldwide. Sarah Kerruish, Chief Strategy Officer, Kheiron said: ‘safe and ethical use of AI in healthcare is at the heart of Kheiron’s mission of revolutionising screening mammography to give every woman, everywhere a better fighting chance against breast cancer. Our work at Kheiron is rooted in scientific principles, including gathering robust clinical evidence that the AI technology generalises. Kheiron and patients will benefit from the use-inspired research and novel methodologies for monitoring AI in clinical deployment. Ensuring patient safety at scale while increasing the adoption of the technology worldwide is one of the key goals of this strategic collaboration with a world-leading academic research group.'
Professor Glocker and his team’s work on the safe deployment of AI aims to bring benefits to patients, healthcare professionals, AI developers, policy makers and regulators. On receiving the award, Ben said: “The Research Chair is a fantastic mechanism allowing us to translate cutting-edge research into clinical practice. Kheiron is one of the first companies that has successfully deployed breast cancer screening AI providing a unique opportunity for this research to have real-world impact by helping to improve the care for thousands of patients.”
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