Category: Research

Research round-up: cooling systems, batteries and bioplastics

In our research round-up we showcase recently published work by four different research groups. Keep reading to find out more about what our researchers are currently working on.

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New research accurately simulates flow patterns in complex geometrical structures

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.

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Researchers in Chemical Engineering develop next generation of multi-functional precision polymer

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.

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One-Stone, Two-Bird Synergies: Next-generation solar technologies

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.

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The value of gold in chemical engineering

Gold can make things happen. This has been true since it was first discovered; it looks precious, it’s relatively rare, and it can be easily transformed into items for trade. A symbol of wealth and status for thousands of years, it was originally made into coins in 550BC, and has a history of being used to create valuable items such as jewellery. 

Research published by Chemical Engineering PhD student Motaz Khawaji and Professor David Chadwick has demonstrated how gold can make things happen on a chemical level, by using gold particles to create reactions. Their work has recently been featured on the covers of two academic journals, Catalysis Science & Technology and ChemCatChem. Here we take a look at how they use gold nanoparticles and how they could be utilised by industry.

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Why does the UK need to invest in carbon capture and storage?

The CCUS (Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage) Cost Challenge Taskforce recently delivered their report to the Government which puts forward a strategy to develop large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the UK. The key message outlined in the report, Delivering clean growth, is that the Government needs to act urgently to invest in CCS if it is to meet its goal of having projects delivered and operational from the mid-2030s. Without this, the UK will not meet its emissions reduction target, as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008.

Geoff Maitland, Professor of Energy Engineering at the Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London, and Director of the Qatar Carbonates and Carbon Storage Research Centre (QCCSRC), is a member of the CCUS Cost Challenge Taskforce. He explains what carbon capture and storage means, and why it’s so vital in tackling climate change.