Imperial College London

Mr. Luca P. C. Weller

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Materials

Research Postgraduate







Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





I completed my MEng in Materials Science and Engineering at Imperial College London (June 2021) and joined the Nanostructured Hierarchical Assemblies and Composites (NanoHAC) group as a Ph.D. student, thereafter. I am primarily supervised by Prof. Milo Shaffer and a member of the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet Doctoral Training Partnership (SSCP DTP) cohort, as part of the 2021 Transition to Zero Pollution (TZP) Initiative.

Project Title: Distributed Direct Air Capture (DAC) of CO2 in ambient conditions using Electro-swing Systems

My project aims to optimize a novel aerogel composite, to design a prototype of a simple and ultra-low-cost Direct Air Capture (DAC) system. Generally, DAC is the sequestration of carbon dioxide CO2 from our ambient atmosphere, in which adsorption processes capture CO2 using liquid or solid-state sorbent materials. The regeneration processes of typical thermal and pressure-swing desorption strategies tend to be elaborate, energy-intensive, and thus expensive per tonne of captured CO2. The premise of my project is to achieve efficient ad/desorption to functional groups decorated across the aerogel's high specific surface area, wherein an applied bias drives the desorption cycle via joule-heating: an electro-swing process.

The captured CO2 can then be stored underground or used in the production of near carbon-neutral structural materials and fuels. The integration as a more holistic climate mitigation strategy will consider the use of renewable intermittent power sources, the scalability of DAC ‘farms’, and the end product of the captured carbon.