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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 12:10 GMT
Scientist's climate change award
Chris Freeman
Professor Freeman said it was an honour to receive the Mullard award
A scientist at the University of Wales, Bangor has won a Royal Society award for work to tackle climate change.

The society's president Lord Rees said Professor Chris Freeman's work could potentially "change the way we live".

His research involves trapping pollutants in peatland plants, which become "living filters" to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air.

Past winners of the Mullard Award include Sir Peter Mansfield, inventor of the MRI scanner.

Prof Freeman, who lives at Cwm y Glo near Caernarfon, Gwynedd, said his work started 15 years ago when it was discovered that an enzyme-latch in peatland plants could trap carbon dioxide.

Tackling global warming is not only a moral imperative but it is also an economic one
Lord Rees, president The Royal Society

This then prevents decomposition of the plants, and is why whole preserved bodies have been discovered buried in peatland bogs, he said.

"I'm interested in increasing the efficiency of that enzyme latch so that plants can take up pollutants, and become a living filter.

Receiving the award was "a great honour", he said, and meant a group of expert scientists had assessed his work and decided it had "huge commercial implications".

He said: "The next phase will be to look at how we can use it elsewhere, so that areas of agricultural field can be used as filters for example."

The Royal Society is an independent academy promoting the natural and applied sciences.

"Tackling global warming is not only a moral imperative but it is also an economic one," said Lord Rees from the society.

"Britain has some of the best scientists in the world and we need to make the most of them.

"This work has the potential to change how we live and to make a serious contribution to the UK's economy," he added.




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