Chemical Engineering


Professor Wen-Feng Lin BSc, MSc, PhD, FRSC

Photo of Professor Wen-Feng Lin

Professor of Chemical Engineering


Professor Lin has particular expertise in physical chemistry, electrochemistry and electrochemical engineering. The primary themes of his research are related to energy, environment and water. He collaborates internationally and has led a significant number of externally funded projects, ranging from fundamental understanding of electro-catalysis at atomic and molecular levels to applied R&D in energy materials, fuel cells, batteries, and ozone generation from water for water treatment and advanced oxidation technologies; resulting in an output of over 160 publications, 6 patents and contributions to 2 spin-outs.

After obtaining his BSc, MSc and PhD from Xiamen University, he was appointed as a Lecturer then an Associate Professor at the same University, before embarking on his true international academic adventure. He was a Senior Visiting Scholar at Hong Kong University and Case Western Reserve University; held two Research Fellowships awarded by the prestigious Humboldt-Foundation and Max-Planck-Society working with Nobel Laureate Prof. Ertl in the Fritz-Haber-Institute in Berlin; was a Research Fellow (funded by EPSRC), Visiting Lecturer, Senior Research Fellow and a Founding Director of two spin-outs at Newcastle University; was a Lecturer (2009-2012) and then promoted to a Reader (2013-2015) at Queen’s University Belfast. He joint Loughborough University in December 2015, taking up the post of Professor of Chemical Engineering. He holds 4 Visiting Professorships at four leading universities in China as well as a Visiting Research Professor title from QUB.


  • BSc, MSc, PhD
  • Fellow of The Royal Society of Chemistry (Since 2014)
  • Member of The International Society of Electrochemistry

Key awards:

  • Science and Technology Advance Prizes of State Educational Commission, China, 1992, 1996.
  • Outstanding Scientific Research Prize of Xiamen University, China. 1994.
  • Research Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany, 1997-1998.
  • Research Fellowship, Max-Planck-Society, Germany, 1998-1999.
  • Research Fellowship, EPSRC, UK, 2002-2003.
  • Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator of Major Research Grants Awards, EPSRC, UK, 2010-13, 2011-14, 2012-13; NSFC and MOST, China, 1994-1997, 2011-2014 (International Cooperation Platform Grant).

Current teaching responsibilities:

  • Clean Chemical Energy and Sustainability   (Module Leader)
    (CGD070 for Part D MEng students and CGP070 for MSc students)
  • Chemical Product Design    (Module Leader)
    (CGD059 for Part D MEng students and CGP059 for MSc students)
  • Chemical Engineering Individual Process Design Project (CGD045 for Part D )
  • Chemical Engineering Team Process Design Project (CGD046 for Part D)
  • Dissertation (CGC037 for Part C MEng)
  • BEng R&D supervision (CGC033 for Part C)
  • Process Design & Safety (CGB001 for Part B MEng/BEng)
  • Chemical Engineering Laboratory (CGA004 for Part A)
  • MSc Project (CGP056)
  • MEng PDP Project

Current administrative responsibilities:

  • Impact Lead for Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Member of Enterprise Committee of School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering

Outline of main research interests:

My research seeks to tackle scientific problems of fundamental social and economic significance that have strong electrochemical and engineering aspects, and ranges from the development of novel energy-saving and environmentally friendly ozone generators and photo-electrochemical reactors for disinfection and detoxification of water, to the development of new advanced direct and indirect fuel cells as a future clean energy technology with a focus on using renewable biofuels/biofeedstocks as energy sources.

Current projects are multidisciplinary in the fields of materials, chemistry, chemical engineering and bioengineering, and maintain collaborations with a wide range of engineers and scientists worldwide. Research activities include low temperature PEM and alkaline fuel cells, direct alcohol fuel cells, microbial fuel cells, metal-air batteries, lithium-ion and hybrid batteries, redox flow batteries, supercapacitors, photo-electro-chemical hydrogen production, CO2 conversion to liquid fuels, and catalytic ozone generation from water for water treatment and advanced oxidation technologies.

The interdisciplinary nature of the research requires both fundamental understanding of the underpinning basic sciences and engineering and application-led system development, ranges from materials synthesis and characterization, reaction kinetics, mechanisms and electro-catalysis studies, to novel cell and stack design and fabrication.

The advancement of research is achieved by two parallel research approaches:

  • Development and application of novel techniques such as electrochemical in-situ FTIR, ex-situ electron diffraction and DFT atomistic modelling capable of providing molecular information on a range of catalytic and electrocatalytic reactions, from steady state to intrinsic kinetics.
  • Incorporation of this information into the design of improved materials (catalysts, in particular shape- and size-controllable nanocatalysts supported on a range of nanostructured carbon, oxide and carbides), components, reactors, devices and integrated systems, e.g., fit-for-purpose fuel cell stacks for portable power and transportation, and for combined heat and power for buildings.

Grants and contracts:

  • The UK Catalysis Hub – energy theme, EPSRC, £3M (2013-2018, Collaborator, with main contribution to the fuel cell project which is one of the three energy projects in it).
  • Low Cost High Performance Novel Catalysts for Direct Alcohol Alkaline Fuel Cells using anion exchange membrane and bio-fuels, EPSRC, £536K (2011-2014, PI).
  • High Performance Low Temperature Direct Ethanol Fuel Cells, EPSRC and TSB, £504K (2010-2013, Co-I, wrote the proposal and run the project).
  • Green Electro-catalytic Ozone and Hydrogen Technologies - An Energy-efficient, Cost-effective and Sustainable Solution for Water/Waste Treatments and Clean Fuel Production, NI Water Ltd and Modern Water Ltd, £89K (2010-2014, PI)
  • Small Items of Research Equipment, EPSRC, £358K (2012-2013; Co-I).
  • Novel Tungsten Carbide based Materials for Fuel Cell Applications, Ministry of Science and Technology of China (International cooperation platform grant), RMB 5.10M = £510K, 2011-2014, Co-PI for UK team)
  • Fuel Cell Catalysis at Atomic and Molecular Level, State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces at Xiamen, China,  RMB 1.85M = £180K (2012-2015, Co-PI for UK team)
  • Advanced Direct Alcohol Fuel Cells, Department of Education and Learning of Northern Ireland, £96K (2010-2012, PI).
  • Fit-for-Purpose Shape Flexible Fuel Cells, Department of Education and Learning of Northern Ireland, £62K (2011-2014, PI).
  • Development of a Capillary Fuel Cell and Exploitation of Novel Catalysis, Whitefox Technologies Ltd, £265K (2006-2008, Co-PI).
  • Research and Development of a Novel Fuel Cell Cathode Configuration, Acal Energy Ltd, £141K (2005-2007, Co-PI).
  • Capillary Ethanol Fuel Cell, Carbon Trust, £170K, (2005-2007, Co-I).
  • Capillary Direct Methanol Fuel Cell, EU CRAFT F5, €1.32M (2002-2004, Co-I). 

Recent publications:

  • Gibson, G, Lin, WF* (2017), Green Electrochemical Ozone Production via Water Splitting: Mechanism Studies,  J. Electrchem. 2017, 23(2), 180-198.
  • Y.  Liu, D. Sun, S. Askari, J. Patel, M. M. Montero, S. Mitra, R. Zhang, W. F. Lin, D. Mariotti, P. Maguire, “Enhanced Dispersion of TiO2 Nanoparticles in a TiO2/PEDOT:PSS Hybrid Nanocomposite via Plasma-Liquid Interactions”, Sci. Rep. 2015, 5, 15765. DOI: 10.1038/srep15765.
  • T.  Sheng,    X. Lin,    Z. Y. Chen,  P. Hu, S. G. Sun, Y. Q. Chu, C. A. Ma and W. F. Lin*, “Methanol electro-oxidation on platinum modified tungsten carbides in direct methanol fuel cells: a DFT study”, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2015, 17, 25235-25243.
  • V. K. Puthiyapura, D.J.L. Brett, A. E. Russell, W. F. Lin*and C. Hardacre*, “Development of a PtSn bimetallic catalyst for direct fuel cells using bio-butanol fuel”, Chem. Commun. 2015, 51, 13412-13415.
  • B. Y. Liu, J. M. Jin, X. Lin, C. Hardacre, P. Hu and W. F. Lin*, “The effects of stepped sites and ruthenium adatom decoration on methanol dehydrogenation over platinum-based catalyst surfaces”, Catalysis Today 2015, 242, 230-239.
  • P. Wang, X. Lin, B. Yang, J. M. Jin, C. Hardacre, N. F. Yu, S. G. Sun, W. F.  Lin*,“Activity Enhancement of Tetrahexahedral Pd Nanocrystals by Bi Decoration towards Ethanol Electrooxidation in Alkaline Media”, Electrochimica Acta, 2015, 162, 290-299.
  • J. M. Jin, T. Sheng, X. Lin, R. Kavanagh, P. Hamer, P. Hu, C. Hardacre, A. Martinez-Bonastre, J. Sharman, D. Thompsett, W. F. Lin*, “Origin of high activity but low CO2 selectivity on binary PtSn catalysts in the direct ethanol fuel cell”, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2014, 16, 9432-9440.
  • T. Sheng, W. F. Lin*, C. Hardacre, P. Hu, “Significance of β-Dehydrogenation in Ethanol Electro-Oxidation on Platinum Doped with Ru, Rh, Pd, Os and Ir", Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2014, 16, 16, 13248-13254.
  • T. Sheng, W. F. Lin*, C. Hardacre, P. Hu, “The Role of Water and Adsorbed Hydroxyls on Ethanol Electrochemistry on Pd: New Mechanism, Active Centers and Energetics for Direct Ethanol Fuel Cell Running in Alkaline Medium”,J. Phys. Chem. C 2014, 118, 5762-5772.
  • Chen, Z., Ma, C., Chu, Y-Q., Jin, J., Lin, X., Hardacre, C. & Lin, W. F.*, “WC@meso-Pt core–shell nanostructures for fuel cells”, Chem. Commun. 2013, 49, 11677-11679.
  • Morgan, A., Kavanagh, R., Lin, W. F*, Hardacre, C. & Hu, P, “Electrooxidation of methanol in an alkaline fuel cell: determination of the nature of the initial adsorbate”, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys.2013, 15, 20170-20175.
  • B. Y. Liu, J. M. Jin, C. Hardacre, P. Hu, W. F. Lin*.  Combined studies of DFT atomistic modelling and in-situ FTIR spectroscopy on surface oxidants and CO oxidation at Ru electrodes. Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry 2013, 688, 216–223.
  • G. L. Xu, J. T. Li, L. Huang, W. F. Lin, S. G. Sun.  Synthesis of Co3O4 nano-octahedra enclosed by {111} facets and their excellent lithium storage properties as anode material of lithium ion batteries, Nano Energy, 2013, 2, 394-402.
  • C. Ma, W. Liu, M. Shi, X. Lang, Y. Q. Chu, Z. Y. Chen, D. Zhao, C. Hardacre, W. F. Lin.  Low loading platinum nanoparticles on reduced graphene oxide-supported tungsten carbide crystallites as a highly active electrocatalyst for methanol oxidation, Electrochimica Acta, 2013, 114, 133–141.
  • R. Kavanagh, X.M. Cao, W.F. Lin*, C. Hardacre, P. Hu. Origin of Low CO2 Selectivity on Platinum in the Direct Ethanol Fuel cells. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 1572 –1575.
  • H.X. Liu, N. Tian, M.P. Brandon, Z.Y. Zhou, J.L. Lin, C. Hardacre, W.F. Lin*, S.G. Sun. Tetrahexahedral Pt nanocrystal catalysts decorated with Ru adatoms and their enhanced activity in methanol electrooxidation. ACS Catalysis 2012, 2, 708-715.
  • H.X. Liu, N. Tian, M.P. Brandon, J. Pei, Z. Huangfu, C. Zhan, Z.Y. Zhou, C. Hardacre, W.F. Lin*, S.G. Sun.  Enhancing the Activity and Tuning the Mechanism of Formic acid Oxidation at Tetrahexahedral Pt Nanocrystals by Au Decoration. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2012,14, 16415–16423.
  • R. Kavanagh, X.M. Cao, W.F. Lin*, C. Hardacre, P. Hu.  Acetaldehyde Production in the Direct Ethanol Fuel Cell: Mechanistic Elucidation by Density Functional Theory. J. Phys. Chem. C 2012, 116, 7185-7186.
  • F. Xie, Z.G. Shao, G Zhang, J. Zhai, W. Lu, X. Qin, W.F. Lin, B. Yi. A quantitative research on S- and SO2-poisoning Pt/Vulcan carbon fuel cell catalyst. Electrochim. Acta 2012, 67, 50-54.
  • C.A. Ma, Z.Y. Chen, W.F. Lin, F.M. Zhao, M.Q. Shi. Template-free environmentally friendly synthesis and characterization of unsupported tungsten carbide with a controllable porous framework. Microporous and Mesoporous Materials 2012, 149, 76 – 85.

 Selected publiations:

  • P. A. Christensen and W. F. Lin, “Electrode, method of manufacture and use thereof”, UK patent: 0612094.3, 2006; International patent: PCT/GB2007/002299, 2007.
  • C. A. Ma, Z. Y. Chen, W. F. Lin, Y. Q. Chu, “WC/CNT, WC/CNT/Pt Composite Material and Preparation Process Therefor and Use Thereof”, China patent: CN103357408 A, 2013; International patent: PCT/CN2012/086627, 2013; US patent: US-2015-0018199-A1, 2015.
  • W. F. Lin, P. A. Christensen, J. M. Jin and A. Hamnett, “In-situ FTIR spectroscopic studies of the adsorption and oxidation of small organic molecules at the Ru(0001) electrode under various conditions”, In: S.-G. Sun, P. A. Christensen and A. Wieckoski, ed. In-Situ Spectroscopic Studies of Adsorption at the Electrode and Electrocatalysis. Elsevier B. V, 2007, pp. 99-138.
  • W. F. Lin, P. A. Christensen, A. Hamnett, M. S. Zei and G. Ertl. “An In-situ FTIR Study of the Structures and Processes of CO Adsorption and Electro-oxidation at a Ru(0001) Single Crystal Electrode”. J. Phys. Chem. B 2000, 104, 6642 - 6652. (74 citations)
  • T. Iwasita, H. Hoster, A. John-Anacke, W.F. Lin and W. Vielstich: Methanol Oxidation on PtRu Electrodes: Influence of Surface Structure and Pt-Ru atom Distribution. Langmuir, 2000, 16, 522-529(442  citations)
  • W. F. Lin*, M.S.Zei, M. Eiswirth, G. Ertl, T. Iwasita and W. Vielstich: Electrocatalytic Activity of Ru Modified Pt(111) Electrodes Toward CO Oxidation. J. Phys. Chem. B 1999, 103, 6968-6977.  (255  citations)
  • W.F. Lin, T. Iwasita and W. Vielstich:  Catalysis of  CO Electrooxidation at Pt, Ru and Pt-Ru Alloy: An in Situ FTIR Study. J. Phys. Chem. B 1999, 103, 3250-3257. (188  citations)
  • W.F. LIN, J.T.WANG and R.F.SAVINELL: On-line FTIR Spectroscopic Investigations of The Methanol Oxidation in A Direct Methanol Fuel Cell. J. Electrochem. Soc., 1997, 144: 1917-1922. (129 citations)
  • W.F. LIN and S.G.SUN: In situ FTIRS Investigations of Surface Processes of Rh Electrode --- Novel Observation of Geminal Adsorbates of Carbon Monoxide on Rhodium Electrode in Acid Solution. ELECTROCHIMICA ACTA, 1996, 41: 803-809.
  • W.F. LIN, S.G.SUN and Z.W.TIAN: Investigations of Coadsorption of Carbon Monoxide with S or Bi Adatoms at a Pt Electrode by in situ FTIR Spectroscopy and Quantum Chemistry Analysis. J. Electroanal. Chem., 1994, 364: 1-7.

External collaborators:

  • Johnson Matthey Technology Centre
  • Manchester University
  • UCL
  • Queen’s University of Belfast
  • Fritz-Haber Institution of Max-Plank Society
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Xiamen University
  • Fudan University
  • Shandong University
  • Beijing University of Chemical Technology
  • Zhejiang University of Technology

External roles and appointments:

  • Editorial board of Journal of Chemical Engineering & Process Technology (since 2011)
  • Panel of EPSRC energy program (since 2011)
  • EPSRC College member
  • Science Board of UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research Hub
  • Symposium Organizer and Chairman (e.g., 243rd American Chemical Society, Division of Fuel Chemistry, Symposium on Materials and Catalysis in Fuel Cells, March 2012)
  • International committee (e.g., the 2nd international Symposium on Sustainable Chemical Product and Process Engineering)
  • Section Chair for international conferences (e.g., annual meetings of the International Society of Electrochemistry, etc.)
  • Regular reviewer for major research proposals for EPSRC, Leverhulme Trust, Department of Energy (DOE)/USA, National Natural Science Foundation of China
  •  Regular referee for leading journals (e.g., Nature, Nature Communication,  Angew. Chem. Int. Ed, JACS,  JPC, Chem. Comm., EES, PCCP,  Nano Energy, Chemical Engineering Journal and many others in Electrochemistry, Catalysis, Surface Sciences and Engineering areas)
  • External Examiner for PhD for the University of Manchester (since 2011), University of Sussex (since 2013), University of Nottingham (since 2015), Newcastle University (since 2016), The University of Hong Kong (2010 -) and Xiamen University (2009 -).

Specialist expertise:

  • Electrochemistry and Electrochemical Engineering
  • Electrochemical Energy Storage and Conversion (Fuel Cells, Batteries)
  • Electrochemical Environmental Systems and Engineering (Ozone and Advanced Oxidation Technologies, Photo-electrochemistry and Photo-electro-catalysis)
  • Water Treatment and Disinfection
  • Electro-synthesis
  • Electrochemical Nano-materials and Nano-technologies
  • Electro-catalysis
  • Surface Sciences, Technologies and Engineering
  • Electrochemical and Photo-electrochemical in-situ FTIR Spectroscopy