Chemistry

Research

Energy theme

The Energy research theme is a multi-disciplinary research team comprising physical, inorganic, organic and radiochemists collaborating within a vibrant research culture.

The group delivers high quality research from fundamental studies to real-world applications. Their research is driven by the depletion of conventional energy resources and the pressing need for sustainable alternatives and their efforts are also focused on sustainable energy capture and nuclear power. Working closely with physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, materials scientists, social scientists, economists and engineers, they try to find effective solutions for complex issues in the energy sector.

Some of our projects and partners

Electrochemical Activation and Incorporation of Carbon Dioxide Into Organic Compounds

Benjamin Buckley and Upul Wijayantha

Electrochemical activation of carbon dioxide and incorporation into suitable substrates provides a low-energy route to the activation and fixation of carbon dioxide. Therefore current research within the group has been directed towards the implementation of a catalyst-free solar powered electrochemical system for the carboxylation of strained ring systems e.g. epoxides in order to produce a range of feedstocks for the chemicals industry.

Fireside Corrosion in Co-Fired Supercritical Boilers

Caroline Kirk, Simon Hogg and Rebecca Higginson

Environmental concerns regarding the emission of CO2 from power plant boilers has driven interest in the use of biomass co-firing as a means to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted from the burning of fossil fuels. The project will focus on the corrosive effects of biomass co-firing in supercritical boilers and aims to understand fully the relationship between biomass and coal chemistries as well as the ash deposits formed.

Transforming Plastic Waste into Fuel

Steven Christie and Paul Thomas in Partnership with Cynar Plc

Cynar (est. 2004) diverts end of life plastic from landfill and converts it to synthetic fuels. These fuels are cleaner, low in sulfur and in the case of diesel, refined to meet the required EU specifications. This research is looking at the fundamental chemical processes involved in this transformation to optimise the mechanisms and extend the range of polymers that may be used as feedstock.

Quantum Theory of Electron Transfer

Stephen Fletcher

This project involves the application of quantum theory to the elementary act of electron transfer between molecules. The work involves both theory and experiment. The goal is to understand what processes trigger electron transfer in electrochemical systems, and ultimately in living beings.

Electrodes Made From The Polymeric Metal (SN)X

Paul Kelly

Collaborative work with the Department of Materials studies this fascinating material with two main areas of investigation: (i) Planar electrodes for use in thin-film organic devices such as photovoltaics and (ii) the templated growth of (SN)x within channels in zeolite structures, which could yield 1-D wires and very high surface area electrodes for use in energy generation/storage applications

Electrochromic Nickel (Oxy)Hydroxide Films For Smart Window Applications

Roger Mortimer and Geoff Wilcox

Electrochemical, electrophoretic and AACVD methods are investigated for the deposition of electrochromic nickel (oxy)hydroxide films onto conducting glass substrates. Films are characterised using SEM, AFM, XRD, electrochemical, and spectroelectrochemical techniques.

Colour Measurement for Electrochromic Materials And Devices

Roger Mortimer and John Reynolds (Georgia Institute of Technology)

A variety of electrochromic materials are investigated for smart window and display applications. Principles of colour science are used in the quantification of chromaticity coordinates.

Tin Whisker Mitigation through the Electrodeposition of Tin and Tin Alloys from Ionic Liquids

Roger Mortimer and Geoff Wilcox

Tin-based metal coatings are widely used in electronics manufacture as solderable surfaces and as general protection to guard against corrosion of the underlying metal surfaces, however, the formation of tin ‘whiskers’ can cause shorting failures in circuitry. In this project, a novel way to mitigate against tin whisker failures is investigated via the electrode position of tin and tin alloys from ionic liquids. (This project includes participation in the WHISKERMIT IeMRC-EPSRC consortium - 'Manufacturing and In-service Tin Whisker Mitigation Strategies for High Value Electronics'.)

The Electrodeposition of Novel Metals for Electronics Packaging from Non-Aqueous Ionic Liquid Electrolytes

Roger Mortimer, Geoff Wilcox and Changqing Liu

The electrodeposition of novel metal coatings including niobium, tantalum and molybdenum are to be investigated. Morphological and compositional characterisation of electrodeposits is by SEM, TEM, XRD, AES and XPS.

Substituted Pyrenes as Pure-Blue Emitters in OLED displays.

Mark Elsegood and Takehiko Yamato (Saga Uni., Japan).

Pyrenes substituted with tert-butyl and other substituents shift emission from red to intense, pure, blue compared with the unsubstituted pyrene. This project looks at the synthesis, structure-property relationships, and applications of these materials,

High Temperature Supercapacitors

Stephen Fletcher

This project involves the screen printing of activated carbon based supercapacitors for use in deep-sea drilling applications. Key steps are the development of innovative combinations of advanced materials that can withstand extreme environments. (In collaboration with Schlumberger WCP.)

High Performance Polymer Electrolyte Cells

Stephen Fletcher

The primary objective of this research project is to explore methods of developing solid polymer electrolytes with enhanced low temperature conductivity. Our modus operandi is to develop high precision AC impedance testing and modelling of hybrid materials. (In collaboration with Schlumberger WCP.)

Advanced Thermoconductive Materials

Stephen Fletcher

This project involves the formulation of advanced thermoconductive materials for the efficient transfer of heat from electronic components to heat sinks. This is a common failure point in many electronic products. (In collaboration with H. K. Wentworth Ltd.)

Battery/Supercapacitor Hybrids for Transport Energy Storage

Stephen Fletcher

Providing efficient, environmentally benign, energy for transport is one of the most important problems facing mankind. In the future it will be necessary to generate and transport energy