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Engineering professor researches carbon dioxide removal pathways

Dr. Florentino De la Cruz, UNF assistant professor of civil engineering, in his research labDr. Florentino De la Cruz, assistant professor of civil engineering, is an experienced researcher in the fields of environmental chemistry and waste management. He joined UNF in fall 2023 after appointments at Purdue University and North Carolina State University. For more than five years, he has devoted his research efforts to Biomass Carbon Removal and Storage (BiCRS). In this space, he collaborates with other experts developing methodologies for terrestrial and ocean storage of biomass.
During a faculty orientation event last August, he connected with another new faculty member, Dr. Benjamin Williams, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and discussed their shared research interests. In the following months, the two discussed plans for a joint research project.
In February, the pair were awarded a Seed Grant from the UNF Institute of Environmental Research and Education (IERE) for their research project titled “Carbon Capture and Storage from Landfill Gas using Metal Organic Framework Coupled with Enhanced Weathering with Combustion Residuals.”
The project aims to utilize landfill gas, with a 50% methane and 50% CO2 composition, for carbon sequestration by employing metal organic frameworks (MOF) to separate CO2, followed by converting it into stable precipitates within metal-containing waste. The initiative not only addresses environmental concerns but also explores economic opportunities, considering the projected $50 billion carbon market by 2030.
De la Cruz is excited to continue his research exploring carbon dioxide removal pathways such as enhanced mineralization thanks to additional support from the IERE.
“I am grateful for the support of the IERE,” he said. “This will help kickstart our research and get graduate and undergraduate students involved.”