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A renowned Heriot-Watt academic has been recognised with a top international award for contributions to carbon research.

Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, picked up the coveted prize from the Society of Spanish Researchers (SRUK/CERU).

The academic, who has contributed to ground-breaking research into low-carbon technologies, is the Robert M. Buchan Chair in Sustainable Energy Engineering at the university’s Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS).

Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer said: “I’m really honoured to receive the SRUK/CERU Merit Award 2018 as it is a tribute to my team’s research contributions. I am very grateful to the Board of Directors of SRUK/CERU, considering the outstanding quality of Spanish researchers in the UK.

“I am very excited that I will also become distinguished adviser of the SRUK/CERU and the opportunity to work together with its over 700 members to impact society and science policy.”

Reducing the amount of harmful CO2 emissions in the earth’s atmosphere remains one of the great scientific challenges of the modern age.

Professor Maroto-Valer leads a team of 50 researchers developing novel solutions to meet the worldwide strive for energy, with particular emphasis on clean technologies.

One project led by the award-winning scientist is the creation of low carbon, synthetic aviation fuel made from agricultural waste, forest biomass and captured CO2. The project remains a work in progress however, if successful, this greener fuel could be scaled up for commercial production and reduce carbon emissions by 24 per cent by 2050.

“We are working on creating new technologies that will be genuine game-changers,” explains Professor Maroto-Valer.

“We have the input of leading industry players throughout our research programmes, ensuring that the technology we develop can be widely integrated with existing infrastructure.”

Professor Richard A Williams, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University, said: "I am thrilled that one of our top academics has won such a coveted award.

“Mercedes is a highly distinguished academic in her field, addressing the global challenge of providing energy for sources whilst mitigating climate change with particular emphasis on clean technologies. She has an impressive career publication of over 140 key publications. We extremely proud of her achievements.”

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this week, the RCCS is a world-leader in interdisciplinary engineering that has attracted more than £17million of funding since its establishment. Its 50-strong research team has produced over 400 publications on carbon mitigation.

At the award ceremony, at Glasgow University on 3 June, the president of SRUK/CERU, Dr Javier Escudero said: “Professor Maroto-Valer is prime example of a world-leading Spanish researcher working in the UK. She is a role model for our members and SRUK/CERU is proud to recognise her outstanding career with our Merit Award.”