Chemical Engineering

Current Projects

Dynamic gas trapping in nanoporous materials systems

An understanding of how the structure of porous materials affects the trapping and release of molecules can be applied to such research problems as the sequestration of greenhouse gases such as CO2, the efficient storage of gaseous fuels such as hydrogen and methane and the controlled containment and delivery of therapeutic drugs in healthcare. Knowledge of structure-property relationships can aid in the development of new materials that have enhanced ability to efficiently contain and release molecules.

Co-crystallization routes to high-surface area hybrid materials for hydrogen storage

Certain porous materials such as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), can act as nanoscale sponges for adsorbing gases, with the gas preferentially adsorbing onto the pore walls. This means that the void space in the center of the pores is not fully utilized unless the gas is forced into the material at very high pressures, which is costly and can have safety implications. This project is aimed at making use of the internal pore space in these types of porous materials by introducing carbon naostructures into the pores to provide an additional internal surface for adsorption, to attempt to increase the amount of gas that can be stored without resorting to high pressures.

Novel lightweight nanoporous materials for hydrogen storage

 

For use onboard vehicles, there is a need for storage materials that have a high hydrogen capacity and are also lightweight. To address these requirements, we are examining a range of synthesis and activation methods including supercritical CO2 drying in order to design new porous materials formed exclusively from light elements (for example, Li, B, Be and O). This project has implications for the development of a new class of lightweight porous hydrogen storage materials using exclusively light elements. This initial evaluation of these new materials as hydrogen storage materials could lead to the design of lightweight storage materials with high gravimetric hydrogen capacities, capable of meeting US Department of Energy targets for practical hydrogen storage materials.

Funding

Notable funding awarded:

  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) H2FC SUPERGEN funding: “Designing nanoporous materials for enhanced hydrogen storage” (PI) Value: £124,999 (01/07/15 → 30/04/17)

  • EU European Regional Development Fund ERDF INTERREG IV A PROJECT: “Materials For Energy Efficiency In Transport” (Co-I) Value: £249,408 (01/02/14 → 31/03/15)

  • Royal Academy Of Engineering Newton Research Collaboration Funding: “Remediation and Valorisation of Vietnamese Industrial Waste” (Co-I) Value: £17,932 (01/01/15 → 01/10/15)

  • European Synchrotron Research Facility Award: "Improving evaluation of adsorptive hydrogen storage materials: in-situ tracking of the effects of extreme temperatures and pressures on pore size" (PI) Value: €30,000 (01/04/13 – 30/10/13)

  • Science and Technology Facilities Council: “Probing extreme densification of hydrogen in nanoporous hydrogen storage materials – effects of pore size and pore geometry” (PI) Value: £66,000 (03/10/2012 – 31/03/2013)

  • Science and Technology Facilities Council: “Direct measurement and validation of limiting total capacities of nanoporous hydrogen storage materials using inelastic neutron scattering” (PI) Value: £ 82,950 (03/10/2012 – 31/03/2013)

  • Science and Technology Facilities Council "Condensation of supercritical hydrogen in nanoporous hydrogen storage materials studied via inelastic neutron scattering" (PI) Value: £ 106,650 (01/04/2012 – 30/10/2012)

  • EPSRC Directed Assembly Network Pump Priming Funding: "Self-assembled hybrid framework materials for energy storage and delivery applications" - £ 10,500

  • Science and Technology Facilites Council Beamtime Award: "Investigation of pseudo-condensation of supercritical H2 in nanoporous hydrogen storage materials studied via small angle neutron scattering" - £ 23,700

  • Science and Technology Facilites Council Beamtime Award:"Investigation of pore filling via pseudo-condensation of supercritical hydrogen in nanoporous hydrogen storage materials on NIMROD"- £ 47,4000

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