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New Chemical Processing and Recycling Technologies for Autocatalysts

Bullion Tech Ltd

PhD student – Sheena Worthington

The project is a collaboration with Bullion Tech Ltd who operate as a solutions provider in managing waste and recycling of metals for countrywide industrial organisation.

The research regarding the recovery of Platinum Group Metals from spent auto catalysts currently manifest a great profitable merchandise and in foreseeable future. For this reason, it was suggested to recover Silicon, Aluminium, Magnesium, and Calcium compounds from ceramic insulation fibre to recycle the secondary raw material. This will be done with chemistry materials and processing techniques. This will also benefit the environment and the economy by preventing it to be sent to landfill. It is thought that during operational procedure and the ceramic insulation fibre the contamination occurs, the three primary type of catalyst poisons are; sulfur, manganese and lead. This will be investigated further and proper purification will be done to produce a commercialized product.

Currently the proposal scheme is still in its novelty. The future success of the project depend on quantity recovered, how pure it is, and the available market for the products recovered.

Completing a PhD at Thornton Science Park is a great opportunity for those who want to work alongside professionals, gain contacts for the future and build their own project. Being a student at Thornton Science Park is a great opportunity for those who want to work alongside professionals, gain contacts for the future and build their own project.

Eco-Innovation Cheshire and Warrington offers flexibility and support whilst working towards your future goals. I now have new insights and perceptions on how to approach work in this field of expertise, including effective time management and the professional skills required in this industry.

Remediation of Acid Tar Pits

Core Additives Technologies Limited

PhD student - Amy Taylor

This project focus on the characterisation and use of acid tar from the acid tar lagoons located worldwide. Acid tar is formed from the petrochemical refining processes which used sulphuric acid. The hazardous sludges, which were defined as waste products from these processes, were deposited in land pits, forming lagoons of acrid, hazardous, corrosive tar. Although these processes are generally not used anymore, the legacy of these processes remain in these acid tar lagoons. They are notoriously difficult to remediate and steps have been taken to dispose of these tars in an environmentally favourable and economical way. The aim of this project is to characterise acid tar and to find an environmentally-friendly way of disposal/recycling.

The focus of this project initially will be on a particular pit and comparison will be made through literature of other pit compositions. Since the chemistry of the pit is predicted to be complex, it is proposed that the characterisation of the contents of the pit should be the focus of the first year, using various analytical methods. It is expected that this will take the whole of the first year. The instruments that are expected to be used initially are GCMS, ICPMS and XRF. It is anticipated that other forms of analysis will also be used.

The second year will focus on disposal or recycling of the contents of the pit and some trials will be performed to deduce whether they would be feasible in practice. This will be explored in depth.

I love being able to bounce ideas off somebody with years of experience.  My advice to somebody thinking about furthering their studies would be to be very passionate about the project that they will be doing and also be prepared to do a lot of work - but it really is worth it.

Machine Learning

Spiro Control Ltd

PhD Student - Harrison O’Neill

A control loop is a mechanism designed to automatically adjust the value of a measured process variable in order to meet a desired setpoint. Control loops are an essential part of every industrial plant, therefore continuous assessment of controller performance is necessary in order to improve overall plant efficiency.

The most commonly used is the PID controller, which continuously calculates an error value e(t) as the difference between the setpoint and measured process variable. A correction based on proportional, integral, and derivative terms (denoted P, I, and D respectively) is then applied, giving the controller its name. The objective of this research is to examine ways in which machine learning algorithms can be used to detect and classify poor PID performance.

Advanced Carbon Capture by Desublimation

PMW Research Limited

PhD student – David Cann

My project is looking at the potential applications of CO2 and re-using the captured CO2 in a circular nature, instead of storing it underground.

I travelled to Australia recently to present my project at The Greenhouse Gas Technology Conference (GHGT-14). Working as part of Eco-Innovation has given me opportunities to network with the wider research community by attending conferences related to my research around the world. Having the opportunity to attend and present my research in this way has helped my development as a researcher. Each day of the conference opened with plenary sessions that covered a broad range of topics, the main takeaway from the first plenary session was that although many people have found technologies that can capture 90% or higher emissions, given the new IPCC report, 90% isn't good enough and we must strive to reach 100%.

Attending the conference was very useful to find out exactly how many different kinds of projects are taking place around the world and how developed the projects are. It's easy to miss interesting case studies or projects when doing a literature review but it's easier to find them at a conference. Presenting my project at the conference was a good experience, I was asked very tough questions at the end of my presentation. Having a group of researchers and engineers critique my project helps to identify where I can improve and move the project along. Seeing presentations from other people has helped me to see areas where I can improve my project as well, finding ideas that I can incorporate into my own project.

The Effect of Feedstock Composition on the Performance Biomass Gasification Process

Green Growth Power Ltd

PhD student – Mubashra Latif


My research is centered on utilization of ENTRADE`s portable power generation unit for conversion of biomass and waste materials into electricity via gasification.

Originally, I am from Pakistan - a third world country where one third of the population still lacks access to electricity. Being an agricultural country Pakistan produces millions of tons of agricultural and livestock waste per annum that could be utilized to generate electricity through gasification. Pakistan is receiving millions of dollar`s worth of financial support through USAID and the European Union Switch Asia Program to help switch its energy supply to renewable energy resources especially biomass but unfortunately it lacks renewable energy specialists.

Earning an industry based PhD degree from the University of Chester would help me in becoming a professional energy scientist and to effectively manage versatile energy projects in both industrial and academic settings of Pakistan. On returning to Pakistan after acquiring my PhD degree, I would join academia as a researcher and would fundraise for the development of small-scale local community gasifiers to strive to make rural areas of Pakistan self-sufficient in green power generation, to lay the foundations of a better and developed Pakistan.


Experimental and Computational Investigation of a Novel Waste Gasification Process

Powerhouse Energy Group PLC

PhD Student - Sepehr Mozafarian

This research project investigates the process of converting plastic wastes and end of life tyres to energy. The main product is a clean syngas with high calorific value and rich in hydrogen that can be used either as a fuel in an integrated system to produce electricity and heat, or as a source of hydrogen following appropriate separation steps.

The process is a steam gasification process at high temperature that is performed in an indirectly heated rotary kiln. The main aims of this project are to understand and optimise the process through experimental tests and computational modelling and then to conduct a techno-economic-environmental assessment of the process for a range of deployment scenarios.