Five Main

Research Thrusts

Five Key Research Thrusts have been defined within the KAUST CCI:

1.- The CO2 Capture Thrust focuses on the demonstration of direct air capture (DAC) and point source capture technologies developed at KAUST, from the development and upscaling of new adsorbents to process design, cost estimation, environmental analysis and small-scale demonstration. This thrust will encompass metal-organic-framework (MOF) and cryogenic CO2 capture.

2.- Within the Nature-Based Solutions Thrust we conduct research to advance our understanding of key natural processes that decarbonize the atmosphere to re-carbonize the biosphere, with a special emphasis on Saudi ecosystems spanning the marine to coast to desert continuum. We assess their potential for carbon removal and develop actionable knowledge to manage their contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation, both in KSA and globally.

3.- The Geo-Solutions Thrust explores and quantifies the potential of geological storage and geothermal energy in the context of the Circular Carbon Economy. We aim to identify the most feasible locations in Saudi Arabia for geothermal energy generation and for CO2 storage in non-well-based settings.

4.- The E-Fuels Thrust harvests the expertise on campus pertaining to the manufacture and application of synthetic fuels, with special emphasis on drop-in fuels derived from CO2 that are compatible with existing power trains, together with future fuels and energy carriers, such as ammonia. With this thrust, we will evaluate energy efficiency, environmental impact and life cycle analysis in order to compare the different technologies.

5.- The Cross-Cutting Thrust focuses on integrating carbon mitigation solutions into current and new processes utilizing technologies from the above mentioned thrusts, as well as renewable energy from solar and wind, energy storage and hybrids of energy sources. The thrust aims to also develop innovative new industrial processes that synergize efficiency gains and carbon reduction for cost neutral decarbonization.


Lead Investigators

CO2 Capture

Mohamed Eddaoudi

Distinguished Professor of Chemical Science and Director of Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Center

William L. Roberts

Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of Clean Combustion Research Center

Nature based Solutions

Matthew McCabe

Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering and Associate Director of Water Desalination and Reuse Center

Carlos M. Duarte

Distinguished Professor of Marine Science, Tarek Ahmed Juffali Research Chair in Red Sea Ecology


Thomas Finkbeiner

Research Professor of Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center


Mani Sarathy

Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Associate Director of Clean Combustion Research Center

Jorge Gascon

Circular Carbon Initiative Lead, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of KAUST Catalysis Center

Cross Cutting

Bassam Dally

Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Stefaan De Wolf

Associate Professor of Material Science and Engineering