Can technology unlock ‘unburnable carbon’? – a SGRI 2016 abstract

SESSION: SGI – Energy Analysis and Policy –Tuesday 27th September (14.15 – 15:05)

Abstracts for the Sustainable Gas Research & Innovation Conference 2016.

Sara BTitle: Can technology unlock unburnable carbon?

Author: Dr Sara Budinis


To stay within the 2°C carbon budget, a very significant reduction in fossil fuel consumption is required. If we are to meet our carbon budget the majority of global fossil fuel reserves cannot be combusted: the unburnable carbon.

The role of technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) may be critical in enabling a greater quantity of fossil fuel to be combusted within a low-carbon framework. However, the potential for CCS to alleviate the carbon constraint is still controversial and uncertain, with a number of studies reaching different conclusions.

This extensive review paper has assessed the current state of knowledge regarding the ‘unburnable carbon’ issue, and provided clarity by quantitatively defining the potential role of CCS in unlocking the unburnable carbon over the next 85 years.


Sara joined the Sustainable Gas Institute in May 2015 from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London where she was a Marie Curie Early Stage Research Fellow from September 2011 to September 2014. Sara is a PhD student in the Department of Chemical Engineering under the supervision of Professor Nina F. Thornhill. The topic of her PhD is operation and control of centrifugal gas compressors, with a focus on carbon dioxide compressors. Her PhD project is part of the European Project Energy SmartOps (more information at:

She received her BEng degree (2006) and MEng degree (2009) in Chemical Engineering and her MSc degree (2010) in Industrial Engineering from University of Genoa (Italy). She spent the first year of her MEng degree as Erasmus student at University College of London (UCL). She also worked as R&D Aerodynamic engineer in Ansaldo Energia since June 2009 until September 2011.

Sara was the first author of our Institute’s second white paper, Can technology unlock ‘unburnable carbon’?