Alex Ip joins Breakthrough Energy’s Innovator Fellows program from CERT Systems Inc. in Toronto, Canada. Alex has always been interested in the fundamentals of how the world works and is passionate about applying cutting-edge research to improve our energy system and drive climate solutions. With previous experience working on greenhouse gas emission solutions, Alex and his team are working on a system to convert captured liquid CO2 into green chemicals, fuels, and plastics.
CERT Systems Inc. has developed an electrochemical process that uses only water and electricity to convert CO2-rich solutions from capture systems, eliminating the energy-intensive purification process and the majority of energy costs associated with direct air capture. CERT Systems is currently transforming carbon dioxide into ethylene, which can then be used for a broad range of applications including plastics, textiles, and sustainable aviation fuels. As part of the Fellows program, CERT Systems Inc. intends to scale their lab model into a pilot to demonstrate the process from air to ethylene.
Alex completed his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He attained a Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University ofToronto. After completing his degrees, he spent four years competing in the Carbon XPRIZE.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Asking is free.” In one of my early co-op positions, I thought I should know how to do everything already and was hesitant to reach out for help. Getting this advice helped to change this mindset; I realized I could accomplish more, and more quickly, by reaching out for support. And if I got a no, I was no further behind.
What beliefs drive you?
Always try to leave things better than you found them. It is important that we make sure that future generations have the same, and hopefully better, opportunities that we enjoy today.
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