Cequestre, a small team of students including Chemistry undergraduates Scott MacKen, Mohammed Masum, and Lyubov Tsenkova, have been named winners of StEP Ignite 2022, the University of Oxford's Student Entrepreneurship Programme.
The programme, developed by Oxford University Innovation, Oxford Science Enterprises and the Saïd Business School, challenges students to identify an idea for a new business, develop a business plan and prepare a pitch for potential investors.
The Cequestre team developed a plan based on technology invented by Dr Tiancun Xiao to capture CO2. Their method uses a calcium oxide to calcium carbonate reaction cycle to capture CO2. This can be performed at a much lower temperature than conventional methods that rely on amines to dissolve CO2, and is thus more energy and cost-efficient. Cequestre's plan is to raise funding through investments and grants in order to scale up the technology. It can then be used to capture carbon to reduce or remove emissions from industrial sources and power plants, using the chemical products it makes to offset costs.
The team's plan impressed the judging panel of investment and start up experts, and Cequestre will now receive a cash prize of £25000, alongside support from Oxford Science Enterprises and Oxford University Innovation.