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Mubashra Latif, 30, wants to make a difference to energy management in her home country of Pakistan. The PhD student from Lahore has made it her career goal to play her part in solving her country's energy crisis and has chosen the University of Chester for her postgraduate study as the first step in achieving this goal.

She is investigating ways to turn biomass into energy as part of the Eco-Innovation Cheshire and Warrington Project (part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund) under the supervision of John Brammer, Professor in Chemical Engineering.

Mubashra is investigating how small businesses could use bespoke on-site biomass energy converters to transform their energy management by generating clean power and heating their premises, while cutting their power bills in the process. She will run trials using a wide range of biomass feedstock’s to generate combined heat and power (CHP), aiming to identify the best parameters for generating electricity and heat. In this way, commercial value will be added to biomass materials which might otherwise go to landfill.

The biomass energy units are modular, easily transported and can be rapidly installed, making them an attractive future option for agricultural countries like Pakistan, which annually produces more than 50 million tonnes of agricultural biomass. These units will enable the government to promote local microgeneration initiatives through small-scale gasification plants converting biomass to electricity and helping to address Pakistan's energy crisis.

Mubashra is really excited about this project. She said: "PhD research can sometimes remain as a thesis, so I feel very lucky to be somewhere where my research will be implemented into the real world to solve real world problems."