MICA Part of Collaborative Project Creating Novel Biomanufacturing Process to Capture Carbon and Bolster Human Health

May 2, 2024

Precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) is used in many applications—from construction materials to cosmetics, pharmaceuticals to plastics. However, the manufacturing process of this cheap, versatile product is a contributor to carbon dioxide emissions that plague Earth’s atmosphere.

In an effort to reduce environmental impacts and bolster human health, a multi-institutional research group, which includes Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), has been awarded $650K by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Convergence Accelerator to develop and prototype a new biomanufacturing process for making PCC and plant-based compounds that support human health.  

Led by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), the project’s research team will be directed by UMCES Professor Elizabeth North, with Ryan Hoover, faculty in the Interdisciplinary Sculpture BFA program at MICA, acting as co-principal investigator. Other collaborators include Purdue University, Salisbury University, and Facilitated Solutions, LLC. Phase I includes the $650K planning grant, with $58K of those funds going to MICA.

The Convergence Accelerator program is designed to rapidly bring laboratory research to societal impact. This newly funded project extends elements of the Coral Defense Project, expanding MICA’s interdisciplinary collaboration with UMCES and others. The project also allows the College to continue to build inroads and credibility in interdisciplinary scientific research.

As part of the Convergence Accelerator, MICA and its collaborators will participate in a unique curriculum from the NSF, continue to build an interdisciplinary team with industry partners, advance elements of research to demonstrate scalability, and develop a pitch for Phase II funding.