Shell scientist receives prestigious award to develop alternative carbon management technologies

Shell Scientist Christian A. Davies, Ph.D., has been named the recipient of the 2021 Edith and Peter O'Donnell Award in Technology Innovation from TAMEST (The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas). He was chosen for his development of a broad suite of alternative carbon management technologies to reduce emissions for a lower carbon future.

A globally recognized expert in soil carbon bioscience, Dr. Davies serves as the Principal Science Expert for Shell's Nature Based Solutions team. This team undertakes projects aimed at protecting, transforming and restoring natural ecosystems, such as forests, grasslands and wetlands, while offering carbon neutral energy solutions to a growing number of customers.

Dr. Davies' method of combining DNA sequencing techniques to analyze microbes in soil with net carbon flux and novel soil carbon measurement technologies are shining light on the role that microbes play in carbon storage in soil, potentially leading to more storage capacity for carbon dioxide (CO2) in soil.

This discovery has led Dr. Davies and his team at Shell to approach the concept of carbon-neutral fuel in a new way. The carbon-neutral fuel accounts for the cost of storing extra carbon in nature and applies it as a credit to offset the use of conventional fossil fuels. The option to drive carbon neutral is currently available to Shell retail fuel customers in the United Kingdom and Netherlands.

Although there is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution to the global rise in CO2, Dr. Davies' work provides technologists a guide to enhance nature's abilities to store carbon in a way that is sustainable for both the environment and the communities involved in these projects. Nature's ability to absorb CO2 is truly amazing. There is more carbon in the soil under our feet than there is in the atmosphere and all plant life combined. Dr. Davies' work to develop the fundamental science behind how we can enhance soil to reduce emissions has set the groundwork for a number of innovative techniques that will help set future energy solutions."

Selda Gunsel, Ph.D. (NAE), Vice President of Global Commercial and Fuels Technology, Shell

Dr. Davies is one of four Texas-based scientists receiving the TAMEST 2021 Edith and Peter O'Donnell Awards for their individual contributions addressing the essential role that science and technology play in society, and whose work meets the highest standards of exemplary professional performance, creativity and resourcefulness.

"Dr. Davies and his team have proved that nature-based solutions can play an important role in reducing our overall carbon footprint," said David E. Daniel, Ph.D. (NAE), 2021 TAMEST Board President. "We are overjoyed that scientists like Dr. Davies and companies like Shell are dedicating their time and resources in Texas to reducing emissions through soil and nature. We are honored to present him with the 2021 Edith and Peter O'Donnell Award in Technology Innovation."

Dr. Davies will be honored at the 2021 O'Donnell Awards virtual ceremony on Wednesday, January 13 at 4 p.m. CT and will give a subsequent virtual talk on his groundbreaking research on March 10, 2021, at 11 a.m. CT.

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