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Emma Lovell | Power to X: The Fossil Fuel Puzzle

Emma Lovell

We have an opportunity to move away from fossil fuels to power our world for a more sustainable future. While that transition is well underway when it comes to switching to renewable household electricity, things like plastic and ammonia are a different challenge.

Emma Lovell

Our fossil fuel consumption is so much larger than fuel for cars and electricity, and it’s our over reliance on these fuels which has seen us hurtling at full speed towards a future of climate catastrophe. While we’ve made some huge technological advances in the space of electric cars, solar panels and wind power, other industries like plastic production and ammonia which is a key component of fertilizers are a different challenge to shift. Over 99% of plastic is made from chemicals sourced from fossil fuels and nearly all of the fertilizer produced, used to grow the world’s fruit and vegetables comes from fossil fuel too. These products have been absolutely pivotal in human development and progression, but it’s time for a change. 

So how can we rethink the way we produce these fossil fuel intensive products in a way that is better for the planet? 

In 10 minutes or roughly the amount of time it takes to take the recycling out, Chemical Engineer Emma Lovell will explain how she is creating catalysts to transition us to a more sustainable future. 


In this sprawling digital age where a universe of information is accessible within seconds, it's easy to be paralysed by the simple question of where to begin. 

Introducing: Ten Minute Genius, a series of short talks designed to create a space in which you can engage with new ideas. We have curated a collection of material scientists, philosophers and maths lovers to help you make some sense of this chaotic information vortex. And because you’re busy, all we ask of you is just ten minutes. 


Dr Emma Lovell

Dr Emma Lovell is a Senior Lecturer and ARC DECRA Fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering at UNSW Sydney. Her research, undertaken in the Particles and Catalysis (PartCat) Research Group focuses on developing novel catalysts for a range of applications; with a particular focus on energy and environmental catalysis. Emma completed her PhD in 2016 at UNSW developing catalysts for carbon dioxide conversion.

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