CPL Industries Limited is the UK’s market leader in the manufacture and
supply of coal and biomass based smokeless solid fuels used in domestic
heating. Alongside this core business area, CPL have a fast-growing activated
carbon division. My role will involve
achieving a significant understanding of the key properties and characteristics
of the activated carbons provided to me, such as pore structure and pore
surface chemistry. This knowledge is to
be transferred into new and existing final application testing in lab, pilot
and potentially industrial scale for existing and potentially new emerging
markets. The new biomass carbons will
need to be compared to current existing carbons in terms of performance, cost
working under the co-supervision of Ying Zhang (Synthetic Biology Research
Centre) and Yanming
Wang (Sustainable Process Technologies group), alongside my industrial
supervisor Craig Woods (Deep Branch). My project aims to reduce the
environmental impact of industrial biotechnology by demonstrating alternative
feedstocks that are not agriculture-derived. To do this a wide variety of
microbes, genetic tools, and feedstocks will be surveyed for their potential to
produce the array of fermentation products on the market today.
Robin studied Mechanical Engineering at Cardiff
University receiving a BEng in 2021. He joined the CDT program in the same
year, the host university being Cardiff University. The industrial
sponsor is Siemens Energy and his research will focus on converting gas
turbines to run on hydrogen with the aid of additive manufacturing.
Ben graduated from
the Mechanical Engineering (MEng) course at Cardiff. Following his dissertation
project studying the fundamental flame properties of renewable fuels, Ben had a
desire to pursue further academic study in the energy industry.
He is now working
with his sponsoring company, CR Plus, on flexible heat and power generation in
resilient zero carbon industry, whilst still based at Cardiff University.
recently graduated from Cardiff University with a BEng in Mechanical
Engineering with a Year in Industry. His 3rd year research project
was his first introduction to combustion, modelling flames in a high pressure
counterflow burner. Still based at Cardiff University, his research is
sponsored by Reaction Engines and is investigating the use of ammonia/hydrogen
blends as a zero-carbon fuel in civil turbofan engines. This includes finding
the optimal fuel cracking fraction for operation and developing/demonstrating a
full-scale injector and combustor sector suited to that fuel blend. The topics
of emissions and thermoacoustics will be closely examined.
Bachelor degree with Distinction, Azerbaijan State Oil and Industry University (Oil and Gas Equipment Engineering, Thesis: Protection of the Environment during Increasing Gas Volume in Underground Gas Storages).
Master of Science with Commendation, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland.
Decarbonisation in the aviation sector in the UK requires the production and utilisation of sustainable aviation field from renewable sources, as blend with petroleum based fuel/ and or standalone replacements, in line with net zero emissions target by 2050. However, due to the technical suitability concerns, sustainable aviation fuels requires to go through more stringent criteria for their approval and certifications, with respect to the fit-for purpose properties. The proposed research will explore the underlying physico-chemical interactions of sustainable aviation fuels in an auto oxidative regime in order to identify/minimise the risk of fuel degradation. The proposed research requires construction of a chemical kinetic model as a predictive tool for agglomeration and deposition of agglomerated materials on the heated surface of fuel system (stainless steel). The kinetic parameters as well as thermochemistry for the mechanism will be calculated using quantum chemistry codes (ORCA and Vienna Ab-initio Simulation package). Small scale test device such as Petroxy and fluidised bath reaction will be employed for the experimental part of the fuel thermal degradation. The chemical composition of sustainable aviation fuel and the thermally degraded products will be identified/quantifies with a Two Dimensional Gas Chromatography Times of Flight Mass Spectrometry.
Elliott is a
graduate of Cardiff University with a BEng in Mechanical Engineering (with a
year in industry). He has a background within Aerospace and Energy Systems
whilst his 3rd year research project was titled the "Detailed Comparison
of Numerical Flame Modelling and Emissions Formation"; this work was
ultimately a comparison of the numerical flame modelling software ANSYS Chemkin
still based at Cardiff University and the data analysis theme continues with
his work sponsored by EA Technology. He will be predominantly focusing on
historic/future trends of energy usage, creating a "Digital Twin" of
the Low Voltage electrical distribution grid and query this to understand the
infrastructure changes required to transition to a decarbonised future.
Sylvanus is an EngD researcher
working with the Sustainable Process Technologies group at the University of
Nottingham. His career interest is strongly inclined towards process and energy
optimisation. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa
University in 2016 and a master’s degree from University College London in
2020, both in chemical engineering. Between 2017 to 2019, he was engaged with
ExxonMobil as a process engineer, where he optimised gas utilisation in their
facilities in Nigeria.
His current research activity is
on techno-economics and life cycle assessments of synthetic/e-fuels, where he
looks at low carbon pathways for producing sustainable liquid fuels that can
serve as a drop-in solution to decarbonize transport. This project is jointly
funded by EPSRC, Saudi Aramco Technologies Company, and the University of
Cole recently completed a MEng in Mechanical Engineering from the University of
Sheffield. He has now started an EngD programme at the University of Sheffield
Mechanical Engineering department with industrial sponsorship from Durham
Filtration Ltd. The research focus is smart filtration technologies for
energy-from-waste applications and fluidized bed combustion.
I recently graduated from the
University of Sheffield after completing the MEng Chemical Engineering course
in 2021. I joined the CDT and started an EngD at the University of Sheffield in
the Chemical Engineering department in the same year with Professor Solomon
Brown and Dr Maria Gil Molto as my supervisors and the Energy Systems Catapult
as my sponsor. My
project focuses on understanding drivers of the development of Carbon Capture,
Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) clusters in the UK and involves optimisation of
the CO2 transportation network as well as the development of long-term economic
a master’s degree in Astrophysics in France, I worked for several years at
Airbus Defence and Space in Germany. I was a satellite functional test engineer
and had the chance to work on the interplanetary missions BepiColombo and Solar
2019, I decided to change career path and started the MSc in Sustainable Energy
and Environment at the Cardiff university. With my dissertation, I got involved
in research on the use of alternative fuels such as ammonia for propulsion
system and decided to pursue my career in a similar field. I joined the CDT in
Resilient Decarbonised Fuel Energy System in October 2020.
My project focuses on the conversion and optimisation of a spark ignition engine for utilisation with ammonia and hydrogen fuel blends. The objective is to support decarbonisation effort of various sectors using internal combustion engine technologies such as power, transport and marine applications.
Project: Developing ejector technology for the intensification
of carbon capture systems.
Jenny was awarded a BSc Microbiology and
Zoology, Aberystwyth University in 2017 and an MSc Control of Infectious
Disease, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2019.
My study seeks to explore the idea of using biological enzymes immobilised on a biochar framework to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) to methanol (CH3OH). Biological enzymes present a powerful and sustainable alternative to inorganic catalysis; however, they also present a challenge. Enzymes must be robust enough to work within adverse environments, such as CO2 exhaust outflows. Free enzymes in solution also create unfeasibly high operational costs due to low recovery rates.
One of the most effective ways to solve these issues is through immobilization; unfortunately, many studies are limited by complex methodology and loss of enzyme activity. Biochar has recently emerged as a stable, inert, and economical matrix for enzyme immobilisation that could overcome these limitations. As opposed to being bound onto the matrix - which impacts activity - enzymes are instead held in place on the biochar by surface functional groups. This could create a bio-catalytic system that provides enzyme stability without affecting functionality; offering industries struggling to decarbonise a CO2-capture technology that generates an economic return on the significant investment required to implement capture-based solutions.
This study will begin by engineering biochar from sustainable UK-based forestry products to ensure its physiochemistry facilitates optimal enzyme attachment and activity. Then, it will determine the optimal conditions (pH, time, temperature, enzyme and ionic concentration) for enzyme binding. It will then test bio-catalysis of CO2 to methanol in pure CO2 and flue gas. Finally, if the study proof-of-concept is achieved, I hope to conduct lifecycle, technoeconomic and pathways-to-market analyses to determine process sustainability and identify pathways to accelerate technology uptake and adoption.
In 2018 alone, methanol production from fossil fuels contributed 211 million tonnes of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. If proof of concept is achieved; this novel technology could replace the use of fossil fuels in methanol manufacturing, demand for which has reached 98 million tonnes in 2018 and is increasing. It could also create an opportunity for CCUS investment in growing industries struggling to eliminate CO2 emissions, such as the cement and steel industry, which contribute over 9% of global CO2 emissions. Methanol will also continue to be in demand in the future as a source of hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles and for conversion to dimethyl ether - a super clean diesel fuel for transport. This provision of sustainable methanol could assist in transport decarbonisation, transport is currently responsible for 6% of global CO2 output.
The leading method for CO2 capture and conversion to methanol is via rare-metal catalysis, which is associated with expense and sustainability concerns. This biocatalytic method will overcome these barriers by utilising biochar as the reaction matrix, to which the enzymes are attached. Biochar and enzymes are renewable, widely available, and affordable, which could result in a lower carbon footprint and a more competitive process. Also, the enzyme-mediated conversion performs optimally at lower temperatures and pressures, making it more energy-efficient.
This would be the first study of its kind to use biochar in a multi-enzyme cascade system. It is hoped that proof of the system’s concept will incentivise further investigations into enzyme-mediated carbon capture.
Llywelyn Hughes previously studied Marine Engineering at
South Tyneside Marine School and prior to starting the CDT was awarded a first
class honours in Mechanical Engineering (BEng) at Cardiff University. He has
also worked as a Mechanical Engineer in the rope access industry, designing and
testing a range of climbing equipment and as a systems design engineer at a
renewable heating company. His sponsors, HiEta, are an Additive Manufacturing
company based in Bristol who specialise in thermal management and
light-weighting. Llywelyn’s project aims to incorporate Additive Manufacturing
for thermal management applications.
I have a background in Chemistry from the University of Leeds and am
currently part of the Coating and Surface Engineering group at the University
of Nottingham. My sponsors are Net Zero Energy, including collaboration with
EDF Energy and EPRI. My project title for this PhD is surface treatment for
thermal plant components for high temperature applications. The goal of this
PhD project is to improve the performance and life span of components used in
power plants by means of surface treatment and coatings to understand the
failure mechanisms induced by thermal cycling, corrosion and wear. The range of
surface treatments involves deposition through novel suspension plasma spray
for high temperature components and High Velocity Oxy-fuel thermal spraying
methods. Current materials used for coating the coatings is Stellite 6. This
material will be investigated further and other suitable materials ,such as
Cermets, will be explored to reduce spallation tendencies and avoid corrosion
and wear. The coatings are characterised through appropriate microstructural
analysis involved in metallographically including Scanning Electron Microscopy,
Raman spectroscopy and X-ray Diffraction techniques. The coating performance in
real life conditions including modelling on Abaqus for residual stress analysis
will be compared to experimental results.
My background is in
Chemical Engineering, I have a Master’s degree from University College London.
After graduating, I worked as a process safety engineer in the offshore oil and
gas industry. I then worked as a technology consultant in the investment
My research area is in polymer electrolyte fuel cells. In particular, I will be looking at improving the electrical conductivity between the components within the fuel cell, by focusing on the gas diffusion layer. Ultimately the aim of the project is to improve overall fuel cell performance and efficiency.
Before joining the CDT, my background was in Chemical
Engineering at the University of Sheffield. Here I undertook an integrated
Master’s degree with a Year in Industry placement and graduated with First
Class Honours. My Year in Industry placement was with Tata Steel Europe, as
part of their Environmental Process Optimisation Team. Through experiences on
my placement I became intrigued by research and decided to investigate
potential PhD placements in the area of industrial decarbonisation. After
reaching out and discussing with the Energy 2050 group here in Sheffield, I was
offered a position within the Resilient Decarbonised Fuel Energy Systems
The project aims to develop and improve upon a decarbonisation system for iron and steelmaking emissions, inspired by my time with Tata Steel. With a specific focus on the blast furnaces that make pig iron, I am looking into using chemical absorption to decarbonise the blast furnace gas. Blast furnace gas poses unique challenges when compared with conventional flue gases from energy generation, specifically by carrying a higher carbon dioxide content and by having both carbon monoxide and hydrogen present.
My research involves both experimental and simulation work, taking place at the Translational Energy Research Centre. Using the Amine Capture Plant, I will investigate capturing carbon dioxide from simulated blast furnace gas, and attempt to optimise the system for a number of conditions. The simulation side of the work will help identify these conditions in a model of the plant, and then assess potential improvements for such a system to improve efficiencies.
My academic background stems from my undergraduate degree in Mechanical
Engineering which I read at Cardiff University. In which I completed a
dissertation in developing a BEMT code for tidal stream turbines in low flow
conditions. As a part of my UG degree, I undertook a year’s placement at RWE’s
CCGT Power Station in Pembroke. This informed my academic and career prospects
thereafter. I followed my UG degree with a Masters in Sustainable Energy &
Environment, again awarded by Cardiff University. Within my Masters studies I
gained appreciation for the role of combustion and how it is necessary to
decarbonise said systems. My Master’s dissertation was focused on developing an
understanding on how to effectively position tidal stream turbines for maximum
power output and minimal loading.
My project is to investigate the effects on introducing hydrogen into the gas grid on current generating assets. Since hydrogen is far more reactive than natural gas, it is necessary to characterise its behaviour in current generating assets, whilst taking into account a range of intermediate mixture fractions. The aim is to realise hydrogen implementation in said assets to introduce further carbon abatement in the Gas Turbine Power industry.
Overview This Resilient Decarbonised Fuel Energy Systems PhD project is
investigating the use of sensor measurements and machine learning to predict
and optimise either the energy production or energy utilisation for a range of
industrial relevant case studies. The PhD project is being sponsored by the industrial
partner Intelligent Plant, who focus on the analysis and visualisation of
industrial data. Although the project will focus on different case studies, the
aim is to determine suitable data collection and analysis strategies that can
be applied to a variety of different industrial systems. The first and second
case studies will focus on energy production systems and the third and fourth
on the energy efficiency of industrial processes. An objective of this project
is to develop appropriate data analysis and visualisation methods, which
contribute to the UK’s, net-zero ambition.
Case Study 1: Wind Turbines This case study will use data from offshore wind turbines provided by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult. Predictive models and anomaly detection will be developed to determine the energy produced for a variety of turbine conditions e.g. wake effect, weather forecast and production output, prediction of energy output in addition to determining the optimal conditions to maximise energy production.
Case Study 2: False Positive Identification Applying machine learning to both alarm and process data in order to reduce fake alarms and provide greater insight to how real an alarm is. For example: a client for Intelligent plant has asked to look at alarms being raised because there was a fire when there was not one, causing them to shut down and thereby reducing their energy output. This can also be applied to many other different scenarios across the industry.
Case study 3: Industry Baking This case study will use data (e.g. temperature, residence time) from industrial bakeries and develop models to determine the optimal parameters of different unit operations (e.g. baking and cooling) to minimise the energy utilised whilst ensuring the product remain within specification.
Case Study 4: Brewing This case study will use data collected from local breweries to monitor the energy usage through key operations (e.g. fermentation and wort boiling and cleaning) and develop models to monitor processes and reduce energy utilisation. For example, data analysis from sensors to monitor different variables during the fermentation process help to minimise the length of fermentation, resources being used while increasing product quality and safety.
I am a member of the 2019/20
cohort for the RDFES CDT. My project is entitled, “Theoretical and Experimental
Investigation into the Chemical Kinetic Mechanism for High-Pressure
Combustion”. The project looks at developing a high-pressure chemical kinetic
mechanism for the combustion of different fuels in CO2. The
Allam-Fetvedt cycle is a high-pressure combustion cycle of methane or syngas in
a 96% dilution of CO2, a regime where the kinetics of combustion are
poorly understood. The experimental portion of the project has involved the
design and fabrication of a high-pressure shock tube for the University of
Sheffield’s (UoS) new Translational Energy Research Centre. A shock tube is a
device for generating instantaneous high-pressure and temperature conditions,
which allows for the combustion of different fuels to be measured through
various diagnostic techniques. The UoS shock tube will total 10.5 metres in
length and be capable of generating post shock pressures and temperatures of
100 bar and 2000 K respectively and should be completed and commissioned by the
end of 2022. The theoretical side of the project utilises Chemkin Pro to model
high pressure combustion data generated using shock tubes. I have used existing
ignition delay time data to validate existing chemical kinetic models for
modelling the combustion of hydrogen, syngas, and methane in order to create
UoS sCO2 2.0, a mechanism designed for modelling combustion in CO2.
Project Title: Biomass Densification for Minimal Drying Energy and
Optimised Pellet Quality.
Biomass has the potential to dramatically improve our environment, economy and energy security if it is used as an energy source in large scale. This project will develop a novel holistic biomass pelleting process, which will aim to minimise drying energy and improve pellet quality. The system will include a low carbon drying system based around novel technologies to minimise energy consumption for drying. The potential to incorporate torrefaction and pelleting into one system in conjunction with higher moisture contents biomasses will be investigated to reduce drying and transport requirements. Full characterisation of biomass resources will be conducted, and the options available at each stage of the process will be investigated prior to the development of the full system. By assessing the system options with Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), the optimal low energy process can be identified and compared to existing systems.
The UK government has set itself the target of achieving net zero
carbon emissions by 2050. This means that while there will likely be some
residual emissions in 2050, they should all be mitigated/offset through carbon
My work analyses data collected through the Delivering Net Zero Project; a UKRI funded set of workshops that gathered information from academics and stakeholders from the public, private and third sector. Our goal is to be able to inform UKRI of where it should be focusing its funding and research efforts in order to reach the net zero target.
More specifically I'll be looking into what narratives are developing concerning Net Zero, narratives such as: what changes need to be made to the energy supply system, how and why people should move around the country, and what everyday behaviours will likely have to change to reduce our energy demand. If any differences exist between the groups and backgrounds of the people who took part in the workshops, they will be identified and discussed. Finally, I'll be exploring what any dominant narratives would mean for different people and groups throughout the UK.
Powerplant components are expected to
operate under high temperature and pressure conditions to cope with the increasing
derive towards improved thermal efficiency and reduced carbon emissions.
However, under such conditions, creep deformation and fracture become major
concerns. This necessitates the development of improved constitutive material
modelling and robust life assessment procedures to maintain the structural
integrity of high-temperature components. This project aims to investigate
creep and creep-fatigue deformation mechanisms of CSEF powerplant steels at
high temperatures, through a comprehensive theoretical, experimental and
optimisation of CO2 fixing bacteria by molecular engineering.
My project aims to optimise the nutritional profile of CO2 fixing bacteria for downstream animal feed applications. This will involve work to understand essential genes of CO2 fixing bacteria, in addition to surveying digestibility across diverse bacterial physiologies and bioinformatics analysis. I am researching under the supervision of Dr Ying Zhang (Synthetic Biology Research Centre), Dr Tim Parr (Nutritional Biochemistry, Faculty of Science), Professor Andrew Salter (Nutritional Biochemistry, Faculty of Science) and Dr Robin Irons ( Chemical Engineering and Fuel Systems, Faculty of Engineering), in addition to my industrial supervisor, Dr Craig Woods (Deep Branch).