Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer holding a block containing carbon dioxide.

I have a natural curiosity for knowledge, so research and university are natural fits for me. I came to Scotland in 1992 as an Erasmus student to Strathclyde University and stayed on to do my PhD on developing novel methods for understanding coal plasticity for steel-making applications.

After completing my PhD, I took academic positions in the USA and UK and then returned to Scotland and joined Heriot-Watt University in 2012. I find myself privileged to work in an area that I truly enjoy and also that will help future generations.

Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer

My research focuses on addressing global challenges to ensure the sustainability of resources and energy. I lead an international centre with over 50 researchers working at the interface between science and engineering for the wider deployment of carbon solutions.

Working with a large number of industrial and academic partners around the world, our research has applications in several sectors related to electricity production, as well as heat/cold and transport. My team has developed several technologies that are placed to become genuine game-changers. Some examples include conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) into aviation fuels or construction feedstocks, nature-inspired materials for capturing CO2 from industrial sources, reduction by 50% energy consumption from data centres and understanding microscopic processes in the subsurface that control global sustainability.

I am passionate about nurturing talent, and particularly helping under-represented groups to realise their full potential. I enjoy instilling curiosity-driven behaviour into my students and colleagues, and the continuous influx of challenges and radical ideas they present. I aspire to leave a legacy of future leaders who will continue working on ensuring the sustainability of coming generations.

Mercedes is holding carbon dioxide (CO2) locked up inside rocks. The block she is holding contains 5.5 litres of CO2. Her first CO2 project focused on converting CO2 into building materials that are similar to the replica she is holding.