Professor Wen Feng Lin


  • University Special Envoy for East Asia
  • Professor of Chemical Engineering
  • Director of Research for Department of Chemical Engineering


Professor Lin has particular expertise in physical chemistry, electrochemistry and electrochemical engineering. The primary themes of his research are related to clean 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, net zero green hydrogen production, fuel cells, batteries, and ozone generation from water for water treatment and advanced oxidation technologies; has an output of over 180 publications, 6 patents and contributions to 2 spinouts.

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 prestigious Research Fellowships awarded by the Humboldt-Foundation and Max-Planck-Society, working with Nobel Laureate Prof. Ertl in the Fritz-Haber-Institute in Berlin, Germany. In the UK, he was a Research Fellow (funded by EPSRC), Visiting Lecturer, Senior Research Fellow and a Founding Director of two spinouts at Newcastle University (1999-2008); and was a Lecturer (2009-2012) and then promoted to a Reader (2013-2015) at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). He joint Loughborough University in December 2015, taking up the post of Professor of Chemical Engineering, and was appointed as the Director of Research for the Department of Chemical Engineering in March 2019. 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)
  • Fellow of the International Association of Advanced Materials (FIAAM, Sweden)
  • Member of The International Society of Electrochemistry

Key awards:

  • Science and Technology Advance Prize of the State Educational Commission on the project of “Spectro-electrochemistry”, China, 1993.
  • Outstanding Scientific Research Prize of Xiamen University, China. 1994.
  • Science and Technology Advance Prize of the State Educational Commission on the project of “Metal Single-Crystal Electrochemistry”, China, 1997.
  • 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: the UK EPSRC/UKRI, 2010-13, 2011-14, 2012-13, 2013-16, 2016-20, 2022-2024; the NSFC and MOST, China, 1994-1997, 2011-2014 (International Cooperation Platform Grant); Royal Society and Newton Fund, 2019-2023.

Specialist expertise:

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

Outline of main research interests:

My research seeks to tackle scientific problems of fundamental social and economic significance that have strong physical chemical, electrochemical, electro-catalytical and engineering aspects, and ranges from the net zero green hydrogen production, energy-saving and environmentally friendly ozone and hydrogen co-production, and upgrading platform molecules and co-production of hydrogen or electricity; to the development of advanced fuel cells as a highly-efficient clean energy technology for transport, buildings and portable electronics, with a focus on using renewable bio-fuels/bio-feedstocks as energy sources, and photo-electrochemical reactors for water treatments.

Current projects are multidisciplinary in the fields of nanomaterials, green chemistry, chemical engineering, and bioengineering, and sustaining collaborations with a wide range of engineers and scientists worldwide. Research activities include sustainable production of green hydrogen from water/seawater electrolysis using renewable energy, PEM and alkaline AEM fuel cells, direct alcohol fuel cells, microbial fuel cells, Solid Oxide and Proton-conducting Ceramic fuel cells, metal-air batteries, lithium-ion and hybrid batteries, redox flow batteries, photo-electrochemical hydrogen production, CO2 conversion to high-value platform molecules and 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., scalable electrolysers for green hydrogen production, CO2 conversion to valuable platform molecules, and electro-synthesis; fit-for-purpose fuel cell stacks for portable power and transportation, and for combined heat and power for buildings; and metal-air batteries.

Grants and contracts:

  • “Sustainable Hydrogen Production from Seawater Electrolysis”, 2022-2024, £252,890; the UKRI/EPSRC (UK Research and Innovation/Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), EP/W03784X/1, PI (Principal Investigator). 
  • “Engineering efficient and stable electrocatalysts for water splitting to green H2 and O2”, 2022-2023, £120,000; the UK Catalysis Hub - the Theme 2 - Catalysis at the Water and Energy Nexus, PI (Principal Investigator).
  • “Development of next generation fit-for-purpose high performance low-cost alkaline direct fuel cells”, 2019-2023, £111, 000; the Royal Society and Newton Fund, NAF\R1\191294, PI.
  • “Catalyst development for low-cost large-scale sustainable hydrogen production from seawater and renewable energy”, 2019-2023, £118,000; the UKRI/EPSRC PhD studentship project award, 228419 under EP/S023909/1, PI.
  • “Catalysis at the Water-Energy Nexus - UK Catalysis Hub Phase II”, 2018-2023, £4,010,000; the UK EPSRC, EP/R026645/1, Collaborator with PI - Chris Hardacre. PI for the sub-project of “Engineering efficient and stable electrocatalysts for water splitting to green Hand O2”.
  • “Development of High Performance and Low-Cost Direct Alcohol Fuel Cells”, 2016-2020, £112,000; the UKRI/EPSRC PhD studentship project award, 1820609, PI.
  • “Developing Next Generation Direct Fuel Cell Systems using Liquid Fuels for Building and Automotive Applications”, £109,000; 2016 - 2020, the UKRI/EPSRC PhD studentship project award, 1807254, PI.
  • “Fuel Cells Beyond Methanol and Ethanol - 3rd generation Direct Fuel Cells Using Oxygenates as Fuel”, 2013-2018, £300,000; Supervisor of the project; and the Collaborator with PI - Chris Hardacre on “The UK Catalysis Hub-Catalysis for Energy”, £3,058,000, 2013-2018, the UK EPSRC, EP/K014706/1.
  • Low-Cost High Performance Novel Catalysts for Direct Alcohol Alkaline Fuel Cells using anion exchange membrane and bio-fuels, the UK EPSRC, £536K (2011-2014), PI (Principal Investigator).
  • High Performance Low Temperature Direct Ethanol Fuel Cells, the UK EPSRC and TSB, £504K (2010-2013, Co-PI, wrote the proposal and run the project), collaborating with JM Technology Centre.
  • 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).

Current teaching responsibilities:

  • Clean Energy, Materials and Sustainability (Module Leader)

Combined mega-module for MEng and MSc students for both Chemical Engineering and Material Engineering departments:

  • Chemical Product Design (Module Leader)

(For both MEng students and MSc students):

  • Chemical Engineering Individual Process Design Projects (for Part D and Part C students)
  • Chemical Engineering Team Process Design Project (for Part D and Part C MEng students)
  • Dissertation (for Part C Meng students)
  • BEng R&D supervision (for Part C students)
  • Process Design & Safety (for Part B MEng/BEng students)
  • Chemical Engineering Laboratory (for Part A students)
  • MEng and MSc Projects for Chemical Engineering students
  • BEng, MEng, and MSc Projects for Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering students
  • MEng PDP Project

Current administrative responsibilities:

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

Selected publications:

“High CO-Tolerant Ru-Based Catalysts by Constructing an Oxide Blocking Layer”, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2022, 144, 9292-9301, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.2c00602.

“Layered double hydroxide-based electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction: identification and tailoring of active sites, and superaerophobic nanoarray electrode assembly”, Chemical Society Reviews, 2021, 50, 8790-8817. DOI: 10.1039/d1cs00186h.

“Semiconductor electrochemistry for clean energy conversion and storage”, Electrochemical Energy Reviews, 2021, 4, 757-792. DOI: 10.1007/s41918-021-00112-8.

“Ru nanoparticles supported on partially reduced TiO2 as highly efficient catalyst for hydrogen evolution”, Nano Energy, 2021, 88, 106211.

“Probing the Enhanced Methanol Electrooxidation Mechanism on Platinum-Metal Oxide Catalyst, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 2021, 280, 119393.

“High-Index Facet and High Surface Energy Nanocrystals of Metals and Metal Oxides as Highly Efficient Catalysts”, Joule, 2020, 4, 2562-2598.

“Electronic coupling strategy to boost water oxidation efficiency based on the modelling of trimetallic hydroxides Ni1-x-yFexCry (OH)2: From theory to experiment”, Chemical Engineering Journal, 2020, 402, 126144.

“The dimension matters: A review of non-precious-metal single atom nanocatalyst in different structural dimensions for oxygen redox reaction”, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2020, 8, 2222-2245.

“A neural-network-like catalyst structure for the oxygen reduction reaction: carbon nanotube bridged hollow PtCo alloy nanoparticles in a MOF-like matrix for energy technologies”, Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 2019, 7, 19786-19792. DOI: 10.1039/c9ta06712d. (Hot paper)

“A general route via formamide condensation to prepare atomically dispersed metal-nitrogen-carbon electrocatalysts for energy technologies”, Energy and Environmental Science, 2019, 12, 1317-1325. DOI: 10.1039/c9ee00162j. (Hot paper)

“Pd nanocrystals with continuously tunable high-index facets as a model nanocatalyst”, ACS Catalysis, 2019, 9, 3144-3152. DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.8b04741.

Designing Pt-Based Electrocatalysts with High Surface Energy”, ACS Energy Letters, 2017, 2, 1892-1900. DOI: 10.1021/acsenergylett.7b00385.

Dodecahedral W@WC Composite as Efficient Catalyst for Hydrogen Evolution and Nitrobenzene Reduction Reactions”, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2017, 9, 20594−20602. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b04419.

Bio-butanol as fuel for direct alcohol fuel cells - Investigation of Sn modified Pt catalyst for butanol electro-oxidation”, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2016, 8, 12859–12870. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.6b02863.

Insights into the Mechanism of Nitrobenzene Reduction to Aniline over Pt Catalyst and the Significance of the Adsorption of Phenyl Group on Kinetics”, Chemical Engineering Journal, 2016, 293, 337-344, DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2016.02.066.

“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.

“Origin of Low CO2 Selectivity on Platinum in the Direct Ethanol Fuel cells”. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 1572 –1575.

“Tetrahexahedral Pt nanocrystal catalysts decorated with Ru adatoms and their enhanced activity in methanol electrooxidation”. ACS Catalysis 2012, 2, 708-715.

“Methanol Oxidation on PtRu Electrodes: Influence of Surface Structure and Pt-Ru atom Distribution”, Langmuir, 2000, 16, 522-529. 

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.

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. 

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.

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.

Please see the full list of publications


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:

  • “Energy Materials” Editorial Board Member - (since 2021, )
  • “Nano Materials Science” Editorial Board - Energy Materials (since 2019, )
  • “International Journal of Green Energy” Editorial Board (since 2019, )
  • Panel of EPSRC energy program (since 2011),
  • Member of the EPSRC Peer Review College
  • Achieved a ranking in the top 6% of the EPSRC College members for participating in peer review activities during the last academic year (2017/18)
  • Science Board of UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research Hub
  • Editorial board of Journal of Chemical Engineering & Process Technology (since 2011)
  • 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,  Advanced Energy Materials, 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 (since 2018), Xiamen University (since 2018), Trinity College of Dublin, University of Dublin (since 2019), University of Exeter (2022-).