International patent made in Sulcis

Mauro Mureddu of Carbonia has created a catalyst capable of transforming CO2 into clean liquid fuels
mauro mureddu mostra il brevetto (archivio l unione sarda)
Mauro Mureddu mostra il brevetto (archivio L'Unione Sarda)

He diminishes, because he does not go hunting for laurels: "I did my duty, but I do it with passion for a deep faith in environmental protection". But when the news came from Munich that his invention obtained the international patent, then pride is legitimate even in the most humble of scientists. Because Mauro Mureddu, 36 year old from Carbonia, Sotacarbo researcher, true scientist has been it for some years (and is considered very promising) but to give him now more than a minute of glory is the decision of an international scientific committee that has sanctioned as unique to the world his idea.

The product

Mauro Mureddu has created a catalyst product (entitled "Efficient catalyst for the conversion of carbon dioxide to methanol") capable of transforming Co2 into clean liquid fuels. Do they already do it elsewhere? True, but the scientific committee, which sanctioned the uniqueness of the study and granted the patent, recognized something that the others (at the moment) do not have: the material has significantly higher performances than the catalysts available on the market today, with the advantage that it does not need the expensive activation process common to all competing materials. "It is a ready-to-use catalyst - reveals the scientist - contrary to all the materials prepared with the most common processes which are instead very expensive economically".

The patent

The invention is promising for possible industrial applications "because over 90 percent of the world of chemicals - notes Mauro Mureddu - is obtained with the use of common catalysts". And now, whoever wants the patent will have to pay money: for now, no precise figure, but several tens of thousands of euros are estimated. Because what the 36-year-old from Carbonia invented (under the direction of the scientific coordinator Sotacarbo Alberto Pettinau and the group manager Francesca Ferrara), is a highly accelerated chemical reaction. Top secret on the components, but not on the experience of Mauro Mureddu: diploma at the Industrial Institute Angius of Portoscuso, then degree in Materials Science in Iglesias, doctorate in Chemical-geological Sciences at the University of Cagliari (partner of this research), multiple experiences abroad, among which the USA and Spain stand out: "But having made this contribution to science by doing it in Carbonia fills me with infinite happiness: I owe a lot to those who believe in me and my colleagues".

No less ambitious are the next steps that will take place in the Great Serbariu mine, where the Sotacarbo is located. A study is underway with scientists from the Indian Research Institute of Madras. And then the research does not stop because the Ministry for Economic Development financed the design of a new experimental plant (on a pilot scale: reduced dimensions) to fine-tune the process devised by Mauro Mureddu in different operating conditions. The experimental phase is expected to start by 2021.

Andrea Scano

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