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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

 

With a background in fuel processing, Dr Ewa Marek was involved in R&D activities and measurements at industrial sites (mostly conventional power plants). At the same time, she earned a Ph.D. on single-particle combustion characteristics using high-speed imaging. Those skills have been handy during a short post-doc adventure University of Nottingham. Since 2014, she has been an active researcher at the University of Cambridge, where she worked at the Engineering Dept. before becoming a lecturer at Chemical Eng. Dept, where she now works in the ERC group, supporting Prof. Dennis

 

 

 

 

Prof. John Dennis is Head of the University's School of Technology, after having been Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. He was an undergraduate in the Engineering Department in Cambridge and then transferred to the Chemical Engineering Tripos, graduating in 1981. He stayed on to do a Ph.D. with Prof. Allan Hayhurst. Soon after that, in 1984, he was promoted to an assistant lectureship in the Department and undertook teaching and research until 1989, working on the control of sulphur emissions from fluidised bed combustors and on how gases burn in fluidised beds.

He has experience in earning a living outside a university, when working as a consultant. Occasionally, he now succeeds in leaving his administrative duties to think about research.

 

 

Prof. Allan Hayhurst is an Emeritus Professor with more than 250 publications on various aspects of Chemical Engineering, flames and air pollution, including fluidised beds. He has been Editor of the journal “Combustion and Flame”. He was awarded the Egerton Gold Medal of The Combustion Institute and is an Honorary Professor at Krakow University of Technology. His current interests include using biomass as a clean and sustainable source of energy and how to burn wastes (solid, liquid or gaseous) responsibly in a fluidised bed. Although nominally retired, he enjoys meeting and working with young researchers.

 

 

 

Joe Gebers is a Ph.D. student focusing on the point-of-use production of ethylene oxide using a chemical looping approach. He obtained his Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering at Stellenbosch University (South Africa), and M.Phil. in Advanced Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge. His work is a continuation of his M.Phil. research and the STEREO project - a collaborative effort coordinated by the University of Cambridge with two Southern African universities and Dr Rob Grant from Gas Recovering and Recycle Ltd to develop point-of-use production of ethylene oxide for the sterilisation of medical equipment using two catalytic reactions.

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Zach Bond obtained his Ph.D. degree studying the combustion of woody biomass in fluidised beds, in particular how the emission of volatile matter from the fuel affects the heat transfer and motion of the fuel in the fluidised medium. He studied Chemical Engineering as an undergraduate here at C.E.B. and undertook his Master’s research project, on Calcium Looping, in the ERC Group.

 

 

 

 

 

Abu Kasim is a 1st year PhD Student from Malaysia. He did his undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering in Australia (the University of Adelaide) and graduated from Cambridge with an M.Phil. in Advanced Chemical Engineering in 2021. He first joined the group in early 2022 as a Research Assistant in the H2Upgrade Project - a BEIS-funded project on the production of high-value H2 via thermochemical water splitting by utilising low-value industrial wastes (in collaboration with Dr Stuart Scott from the Engineering Department and Dr Rob Grant from Gas Recovering and Recycle Ltd). He is now focussing on energy storage through thermochemical routes for his PhD studies.

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Kenny Kwong is a Post-Doc in an ongoing energy storage project funded by EPRC. He did his Ph.D. in chemical looping combustion with oxygen-uncoupling (CLOU) of solid fuel particles in a fluidised bed. He obtained his M.Eng. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge and is currently supervising such undergraduate courses as Process dynamics and Control and Partial Differential Equations. Apart from work, he enjoys long-distance running (in the summer) and snow-watching (in the winter).

 

 

 

 

 

Alex Harrison is a 3rd year Ph.D. student who joined the group in 2020, after taking his undergraduate and master's degrees in chemical engineering, here, at Cambridge. His research is in investigating how chemical looping can be used in chemical production, such as for propylene oxide and ammonia, and is supported by scholarships from the University Vice-Chancellor, Cambridge Trust and EPSRC.

 

 

 

 

Paula Mendoza Moreno is a 2nd year Ph.D. student from Venezuela. She completed her Bachelor of Science in chemical and biological engineering at Colorado State University where she investigated the economic and environmental sustainability of biofuels. She joined the Energy Reactions and Carriers Group in 2021. Her research focuses on the supply chain of liquid hydrogen as an alternative to conventional jet fuel with the goal of decarbonising the aviation sector. Her research is supported by the Gates Cambridge Foundation.

 

 

 

 

George Fulham joined the group in 2021 as a 2nd year Ph.D. student, having completed his M.Eng. in Chemical Engineering at Cambridge. Since 2020, George has been actively involved within the Aviation Impact Accelerator, centred at the University’s Whittle Laboratory, looking at simulating various aviation decarbonisation scenarios. This work has helped inform his current research, which aims to explore sustainable jet fuel synthesis via a methanol upgrade as an alternative to Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.

 

 

 

 

 

Raymond Chen is a PhD student working on the pyrolysis of Sargassum algae to produce charcoal, which could be further used for soil amelioration or as a valuable substrate in advanced production of energy materials such as graphene. By using algae, which grows via atmospheric CO2, the research aims to create a carbon negative solution. Raymond completed his Bachelor in physics at the Technical University Munich in 2021 and obtained the MPhil in Energy Technologies at Cambridge in 2022, during which he worked on the effect of Microbially Induced Calcium Carbonate Precipitation on solubility and mineral trapping of CO2 in the ERC Group. His PhD research is supported by scholarships from the Cambridge Trust, King’s College, and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

 

 

 

 

Cameron Few joined the group as a Ph.D. student in 2022, after completing his M.Eng. in Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London. His research focuses on modelling aspects of biomass combustion in fluidised beds, including drying and chemical looping with oxygen uncoupling (CLOU). His studies are supported by the Cambridge Trust and Wolfson College.

 

 

 

 

Visiting Researchers

Dr Magda Olak-Kucharczyk from Łukasiewicz Research Network, August-September 2022

Master's research projects (IIB)

2021/2022

Raymond Chen from MPhil Energy Technology (CUED), Aya Ennaciri from MPhil Biotechnology (CEB) and Khizar Dara from MPhil Advanced Chemical Engineering (CEB) are currently working on Microbially Induced Carbonate Precipitation applied to Carbon Capture and Store. The three projects are co-led by Dr Alexandra Clara-Saracho and Dr Ewa Marek.

Alice Dyson and Abhishek Balkrishna worked on novel materials for oxygen production. Supervisor: Dr Marek, mentor: A. Harrison.

Antoni Prus and Tom Slater investigated the thermal conductivities of chars from various types of biomass. Supervisors: Prof. Hayhurst, Dr Marek, mentor: Z. Bond.

Dhurai Balan and Sam Newman studied the kinetics of combustion and gasification of biomass chars. Supervisor: Dr Marek, mentor: K. Kwong.

2020/2021

Siqi Xu worked on modelling of pyrolysis of a single particle of wood. Supervisor: Prof. Hayhurst and Dr Marek.

2019/2020

Luke Mleczko and Walid Moujar Bakhti studied the combustion of chars. Supervisor: Dr Marek, mentor: Kenny Kwong.

Udayin Adukia and Shekeil Nasser investigated promoters for chemical looping epoxidation. Supervisor: Dr Marek, mentor: Samuel Gabra.

Josephine Ruggins and Alex Willimas worked on the combustion of a liquid waste like glycerol in a fluidised bed. Supervisor: Prof. Hayhurst and Dr Marek.

2018/2019

Andras Volford and Thomas Redko worked on pyrolysis of single particles of spruce. Some results from this research project have been published in Combustion and Flame.

Thomas McCann during his research project combusted industrial glycerol. This was the first successful and longlasting combustion of waste glycerol performed in a fluidised bed. His findings have been submitted for publication.

Past Members

Dr Samuel Gabra - defended his thesis on chemical looping catalytic reactions in 2022. Now, a PDRA in the Aviation Impact Accelerator project (Whittle Laboratory, Cambridge).

Dr Wenting Hu. He is now a University Lecturer at the Newcastle University.

Dr Martin Chan, now working for a secret start-up company.

Dr Felix Donat, now at ETH Zurich.

Dr Ross Hubble, now at Comsol.

Dr Paul Hodgson, now a Core Modelling Team Leader in the Aviation Impact Accelerator project (Whittle Laboratory, Cambridge).

Prof. John Davidson was most well known for his pioneering works on fluidisation, which were published as Fluidised Particles (1963), one of the first books on fluidisation. John's career is well described on his Wikipedia page.