With the rising urgency of climate change and a sore need for global commitments to sustainable energy, it’s no surprise that intergovernmental partnerships and initiatives are taking centre stage these days. Perhaps the most important example from the energy sector is the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), a high-level forum of 25 countries advancing programmes to accelerate clean energy deployment, recently coupled with Mission Innovation (MI), another global initiative which seeks to build public and private investment in clean energy technologies. However, up until the most recent annual CEM/MI meeting, one aspect of these ambitious initiatives remained puzzling.
There was no structured presence of youth at the meetings.
Selene Pirola, Research Assistant in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, is researching the fluid dynamics of blood with the aim of being able to better predict outcomes of cardiovascular surgery. Specifically, her most recent research looks at the impact of blood flow and pressure in patients treated for aortic dissection.
Imperial College London will host the 2019 International Student Energy Summit (SES 2019, 17 – 20 July), the largest youth energy conference in the world, which will bring together over 650 students from around the world to discuss all things energy-related. The vision for this year’s Summit is ‘breaking barriers’ – it seeks to be inclusive and foster reflection and discussion across a variety of challenges unique to this point in time.
Chemical Engineering PhD students Luciana Miu and Michael Ehrenstein are responsible for bringing the Summit to Imperial, following a successful bid in 2017. Luciana acts as the Sponsorship Vice-Chair, and Michael the Finance Vice-Chair. Amidst busy preparation for the conference we spoke to Luciana and Michael about their research, motivations and hopes for this year’s conference.
To continue our Women@Imperial Week celebrations our student reporter Dora Olah interviewed two postgraduates from the Department of Chemical Engineering about their experience at Imperial.
Hannah Moran (PhD student)
What made you want to study Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London?
For my undergraduate studies, I wanted to study Chemical Engineering because it fit perfectly my interests and talents in maths and the sciences, and its graduates have excellent career prospects. I chose Imperial College London because it’s one of the best universities, and I had such a good experience on my interview day that I knew it was the place for me. I chose to return to Imperial to do my PhD because, again, it’s one of the best research institutions in the world, and it has excellent links to industry. It was very important to me to undertake my PhD in something useful and applicable, and Chemical Engineering at Imperial is really good for this.
To mark the annual Women@Imperial Week our student reporter Dora Olah interviewed three undergraduates from the Department of Chemical Engineering about their experience at Imperial.
Emily Xu (first year undergraduate student)
What made you want to study Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London?
I’ve always enjoyed Chemistry, Physics and Maths; Chemical Engineering was the one course that would combine all my interests into one. The course also has the perfect balance between creativity with academic rigour. Out of all the universities, Imperial stood out to me as the course that prepares you for both work in industry and research.
Article by Dora Olah, final year undergraduate student in the Department of Chemical Engineering
A new method of simulating fluid flow in unusual pipe structures can pave the way for manufacturing better microfluidic devices. In a new paper, published in Microfluidics and Nanofluidics, researchers from Imperial have used a new way of simulating flow in a cross-junction. They constructed the junction using a combination of simple geometries, such as tori and cylinders, to have a resulting structure which involves oblong-shaped pipes and a thinning cylindrical cross-junction.
Article by Dr Jasmin Cooper, Research Associate at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Sustainable Gas Institute
A large proportion of things we use every day have had to have travelled long distances to reach us. Be it fruits and vegetables grown in Spain or South Africa or electronics and textiles made in Asia, the UK is a large importer of goods from afar. The majority of goods are transported to the UK in container ships or freight trucks. While the transportation of goods is essential for maintaining current living standards and quality of life, the impact of importing things from other countries has a high impact on climate change and air quality.
Both the international shipping industry and global road freight sector contributed 2.6% and 7%, respectively, towards total global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015 and 13% and 17%, respectively, to nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions. The emissions from both sectors are currently at levels higher than they were 20 years ago, thanks mostly to the increase in globalisation, cheap productions (food, clothing, electronics) and disposable income but have remained stable since 2010. However, this has led to both sectors being large sources of emissions. The main cause for emissions is the dependence of fossil fuels; heavy fuel oil is the primary fuel in shipping while diesel is the main fuel used in heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in the freight sector.
Professor Geoff Maitland CBE was recognised in this year’s New Years Honors List for ‘services to chemical engineering following a distinguished career where he drove connections between industry and academia’. He first joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London is 1974 as a Lecturer in Applied Polymer Science. In 1985 he left to take on several senior roles at Schlumberger, rejoining us in 2005 with a wealth of expertise which he has applied not only to teaching and research but the department’s strategic vision. In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities Geoff has been an active member of several departmental committees, and was pivotal in establishing the Greening Imperial initiative. He also played a crucial role in the Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) Cost Challenge Taskforce, which produced a report for government in December 2018 setting out how CCUS can be developed at-scale in the UK.
Geoff is a very valued member of the department, and Imperial College as a whole. We took the opportunity to interview him and find out more about his early interest in chemical engineering, his career, and his thoughts on climate change.
Researchers in the Livingston Group at Imperial College London have developed a new class of multi-functional sequence-defined polyether that shows potential across a broad range of applications from drug delivery, to nanotechnology and information storage.
Published today in Nature Chemistry these sequence-defined polymers are the first of their kind to be reported, and have been created by coupling a novel liquid-phase iterative synthesis to size-exclusion membrane nanofiltration technology, producing a monodisperse polyether with over 98% chain purity, much higher than conventional synthetic polymers.
The solar sector is experiencing by far the highest global growth and new investment in renewable technologies. Solar energy is the world’s most abundant permanent energy source: one hour of solar radiation is equivalent to more than the world’s total annual energy need. It is projected that solar energy will cover one-third of the world’s energy consumption by 2060 under favourable conditions. Solar energy can be converted into other energy forms that are useful in sustaining society; in particular, it can be converted to electricity by solar photovoltaic (PV) systems or into thermal energy by solar-thermal (ST) systems.
Christos Markides, Professor of Clean Energy Technologies at the Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London and Head of the Clean Energy Processes (CEP) Laboratory, recently won the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Global Award for Best Research Project for the lab’s work developing a promising emerging hybrid PV-T solar-energy technology, which synergistically integrates PV and ST technologies, and is capable of delivering both electricity and heat.