The Department of Chemical Engineering is located on Thornton Science Park, a modern expressly-designed site that profits from a recently-completed multi-million pound renovation that has created a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility. The site was home to Shell UK’s exploration and research centre since the 1940s, and its takeover by the University heralded the opportunity to apply its legacy to the continuation of world-class innovation and research in the North West.

Recent Submissions

  • Evaluation of a Micro Gas Turbine With Post-Combustion CO2 Capture for Exhaust Gas Recirculation Potential With Two Experimentally Validated Models

    Nikpey Somehsaraei, Homam; Ali, Usman; Font-Palma, Carolina; Mansouri Majoumerd, Mohammad; Akram, Muhammad; Pourkashanian, Mohamed; Assadi, Mohsen (American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2017-08-17)
    The growing global energy demand is facing concerns raised by increasing greenhouse gas emissions, predominantly CO2. Despite substantial progress in the field of renewable energy in recent years, quick balancing responses and back-up services are still necessary to maintain the grid load and stability, due to increased penetration of intermittent renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind. In a scenario of natural gas availability, gas turbine power may be a substitute for back-up/balancing load. Rapid start-up and shut down, high ramp rate, and low emissions and maintenance have been achieved in commercial gas turbine cycles. This industry still needs innovative cycle configurations, e.g. exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), to achieve higher system performance and lower emissions in the current competitive power generation market. Together with reduced NOx emissions, EGR cycle provides an exhaust gas with higher CO2 concentration compared to the simple gas turbine/combined cycle, favorable for post-combustion carbon capture. This paper presents an evaluation of EGR potential for improved gas turbine cycle performance and integration with a post-combustion CO2 capture process. It also highlights features of two software tools with different capabilities for performance analysis of gas turbine cycles, integrated with post-combustion capture. The study is based on a combined heat and power micro gas turbine (MGT), Turbec T100, of 100kWe output. Detailed models for the baseline MGT and amine capture plant were developed in two software tools, IPSEpro and Aspen Hysys. These models were validated against experimental work conducted at the UK PACT National Core Facilities. Characteristics maps for the compressor and the turbine were used for the MGT modeling. The performance indicators of systems with and without EGR, and when varying the EGR ratio and ambient temperature, were calculated and are presented in this paper.
  • Aging and Cholesterol Metabolism

    Mc Auley, Mark T.; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-07-30)
    The role cholesterol metabolism has to play in health span is clear, and monitoring the parameters of cholesterol metabolism is key to aging successfully. The aim of this chapter is to provide a brief overview of the mechanisms which regulate cholesterol in the body, secondly to discuss how aging effects cholesterol metabolism, and thirdly to unveil how systems biology is leading to an improved understanding of the intersection between aging and the dysregulation of cholesterol metabolism.
  • Towards sustainable methanol from industrial CO2 sources

    Douven, Sigrid; Benkoussas, Hana; Font Palma, Carolina; Leonard, Gregoire; University of Liege; University of Chester (Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2019-10-21)
    This chapter discusses the opportunity of using CO2 from industrial sources to produce sustainable methanol. Some important industrial sectors that could be seen as potential sources of CO2 are reviewed: ammonia, steel, ethanol, ethylene, natural gas, cement and power industries. In most cases, despite a promising potential for CO2 re-use, only few projects have been identified and methanol production from CO2 is still marginal. A model for the CO2-to-methanol process is presented based on CO2-rich gas coming from ammonia production process. This model takes into account the different steps from the CO2 capture to the methanol purification, and heat integration is performed in order to determine the reduction of heat consumption achievable for the global process. Even if the economic relevance of the CO2 re-use into methanol still has to be qualified, it offers an estimation of the process efficiency.
  • Evaluation of the Performance and Economic Viability of a Novel Low Temperature Carbon Capture Process

    Lychnos, George; Clements, Alastair; Willson, Paul; Font Palma, Carolina; Diego, Maria E.; Pourkashanian, Mohamed; Howe, Joseph; PMW Technology Limited; University of Sheffield; University of Chester (SSRN, 2018/10)
    A novel Advanced Cryogenic Carbon Capture (A3C) process is being developed due to its potential to achieve high CO2 capture efficiencies using low cost but high intensity heat transfer to deliver a much reduced energy consumption and process equipment size. These characteristics, along with the absence of process chemicals, offer the potential for application across a range of sectors. This work presents a techno-economic evaluation for applications ranging from 3% to 30% CO2 content.
  • Experimental Exploration of CO2 Capture Using a Cryogenic Moving Packed Bed

    Cann, David; Willson, Paul; Font Palma, Carolina; University of Chester; PMW Technology Ltd; University of Chester (SSRN, 2018/10)
    This study examines a novel cryogenic post-combustion capture process, based on a moving bed of cold beads to freeze CO2 out of a flue gas, and this paper presents the first steps in experimental work. The preliminary experiments included the test of fluidization of bed material, if the flow rate of bed material can be kept constant in and out of the column and the estimation of heat transfer coefficient. The obtained results are encouraging for the running of the rig at cryogenic conditions.
  • Methods for the Treatment of Cattle Manure—A Review

    Font Palma, Carolina (MDPI, 2019-05-15)
    Environmental concerns, caused by greenhouse gases released to the atmosphere and overrunning of nutrients and pathogens to water bodies, have led to reducing direct spread onto the land of cattle manure. In addition, this practice can be a source of water and air pollution and toxicity to life by the release of undesirable heavy metals. Looking at the current practices, it is evident that most farms separate solids for recycling purposes, store slurries in large lagoons or use anaerobic digestion to produce biogas. The review explores the potential for cattle manure as an energy source due to its relatively large calorific value (HHV of 8.7–18.7 MJ/kg dry basis). This property is beneficial for thermochemical conversion processes, such as gasification and pyrolysis. This study also reviews the potential for upgrading biogas for transportation and heating use. This review discusses current cattle manure management technologies—biological treatment and thermochemical conversion processes—and the diverse physical and chemical properties due to the differences in farm practices.
  • Evaluation of the performance and economic viability of a novel low temperature carbon capture process

    Wilson, Paul; Lychnos, George; Clements, Alastair; Michailos, Stavros; Font Palma, Carolina; Diego, Maria E.; Pourkashanian, Mohamed; Howe, Joseph; PMW Technology Ltd; University of Sheffield; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2019-04-22)
    A novel Advanced Cryogenic Carbon Capture (A3C) process is being developed using low cost but high intensity heat transfer to achieve high CO2 capture efficiencies with a much reduced energy consumption and process equipment size. These characteristics, along with the purity of CO2 product and absence of process chemicals, offer the potential for application across a range of sectors. This work presents a techno-economic evaluation for applications ranging from 3% to 35%vol. CO2 content. The A3C process is evaluated against an amine-based CO2 capture process for three applications; an oil-fired boiler, a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) and a biogas upgrading plant. The A3C process has shown a modest life cost advantage over the mature MEA technology for the larger selected applications, and substantially lower costs in the smaller biogas application. Enhanced energy recovery and optimization offer significant opportunities for further reductions in cost.
  • Acclimation of Microalgae to Wastewater Environments Involves Increased Oxidative Stress Tolerance Activity

    Osundeko, Olumayowa; Dean, Andrew P.; Davies, Helena; Pittman, Jon K.; University of Chester (Oxford Academic, 2014-09-16)
    A wastewater environment can be particularly toxic to eukaryotic microalgae. Microalgae can adapt to these conditions but the specific mechanisms that allow strains to tolerate wastewater environments are unclear. Furthermore, it is unknown whether the ability to acclimate microalgae to tolerate wastewater is an innate or species-specific characteristic. Six different species of microalgae (Chlamydomonas debaryana, Chlorella luteoviridis, Chlorella vulgaris, Desmodesmus intermedius, Hindakia tetrachotoma, Parachlorella kessleri) that had never previously been exposed to wastewater conditions were acclimated over an eight week period in secondary-treated municipal wastewater. With the exception of C. debaryana, acclimation to wastewater resulted in significantly higher growth rate and biomass productivity. With the exception of C. vulgaris, total chlorophyll content was significantly increased in all acclimated strains, while all acclimated strains showed significantly increased photosynthetic activity. The ability of strains to acclimate was species-specific, with two species, C. luteoviridis and P. kessleri, able to acclimate more efficiently to the stress than C. debaryana and D. intermedius. Metabolic fingerprinting of the acclimated and non-acclimated microalgae using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was able to differentiate strains on the basis of metabolic responses to the stress. In particular, strains exhibiting greater stress response and altered accumulation of lipids and carbohydrates could be distinguished. The acclimation to wastewater tolerance was correlated with higher accumulation of carotenoid pigments and increased ascorbate peroxidase activity.
  • Promises and Challenges of Growing Microalgae in Wastewater

    Osundeko, Olumayowa; Ansolia, Preeti; Kumar Gupta, Sanjay; Bag, Pushan; Bajhaiya, Amit K.; University of Manchester (Springer, 2019-01-22)
    Microalgae have been theoretically described as a sustainable feedstock for biofuel production. However, there are still some concerns and obstacles that need to be overcome in order to translate the theoretical promise into commercial and economic success. These obstacles include a high requirement for nutrients and sustainable water source and the identification of affordable cultivation conditions. It has been suggested that growing microalgae in wastewater can potentially offset some of these obstacles. Microalgae can perform a dual role for remediation of nutrient pollutants and biomass production when grown in wastewater. However, there are huge challenges to overcome before this route can be exploited in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. In the present chapter, the potentials and challenges of growing microalgae in wastewater and its future implications are discussed in detail.
  • The Interplay Between Cholesterol Metabolism and Intrinsic Ageing

    Mc Auley, Mark T.; University of Chester (SpringerLink, 2018-12-31)
    The last few decades have witnessed remarkable progress in our understanding of ageing. From an evolutionary standpoint it is generally accepted that ageing is a non-adaptive process which is underscored by a decrease in the force of natural selection with time. From a mechanistic perspective ageing is characterized by a wide variety of cellular mechanisms, including processes such as cellular senescence, telomere attrition, oxidative damage, molecular chaperone activity, and the regulation of biochemical pathways by sirtuins. These biological findings have been accompanied by an unrelenting rise in both life expectancy and the number of older people globally. However, despite age being recognized demographically as a risk factor for healthspan, the processes associated with ageing are routinely overlooked in disease mechanisms. Thus, a central goal of biogerontology is to understand how diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) are shaped by ageing. This challenge cannot be ignored because CVD is the main cause of morbidity in older people. A worthwhile way to examine how ageing intersects with CVD is to consider the effects ageing has on cholesterol metabolism, because dysregualted cholesterol metabolism is the key factor which underpins the pathology of CVD. The aim of this chapter is to outline a hypothesis which accounts for how ageing intersects with intracellular cholesterol metabolism. Moreover, we discuss the implications of this relationship for the onset of disease in the 'oldest old' (individuals ≥85 years of age). We conclude the chapter by discussing the important role mathematical modelling has to play in improving our understanding of cholesterol metabolism and ageing.
  • Disrupting folate metabolism reduces the capacity of bacteria in exponential growth to develop persisters to antibiotics

    Morgan, Jasmine; Smith, Matthew; Mc Auley, Mark T.; Salcedo-Sora, J. Enrique; Edge Hill University; Liverpool Hope University; University of Chester (Microbiology Society, 2018-11-01)
    Bacteria can survive high doses of antibiotics through stochastic phenotypic diversification. We present initial evidence that folate metabolism could be involved with the formation of persisters. The aberrant expression of the folate enzyme gene fau seems to reduce the incidence of persisters to antibiotics. Folate-impaired bacteria had a lower generation rate for persisters to the antibiotics ampicillin and ofloxacin. Persister bacteria were detectable from the outset of the exponential growth phase in the complex media. Gene expression analyses tentatively showed distinctive profiles in exponential growth at times when bacteria persisters were observed. Levels of persisters were assessed in bacteria with altered, genetically and pharmacologically, folate metabolism. This work shows that by disrupting folate biosynthesis and usage, bacterial tolerance to antibiotics seems to be diminished. Based on these findings there is a possibility that bacteriostatic antibiotics such as anti-folates could have a role to play in clinical settings where the incidence of antibiotic persisters seems to drive recalcitrant infections.
  • The role of DNA methylation in ageing and cancer

    Morgan, Amy; Davies, Trevor J.; Mc Auley, Mark T.; University of Chester (Cambridge University Press, 2018-04-30)
    The aim of the present review paper is to survey the literature related to DNA methylation, and its association with cancer and ageing. The review will outline the key factors, including diet, which modulate DNA methylation. Our rationale for conducting this review is that ageing and diseases, including cancer, are often accompanied by aberrant DNA methylation, a key epigenetic process, which is crucial to the regulation of gene expression. Significantly, it has been observed that with age and certain disease states, DNA methylation status can become disrupted. For instance, a broad array of cancers are associated with promoter-specific hypermethylation and concomitant gene silencing. This review highlights that hypermethylation, and gene silencing, of the EN1 gene promoter, a crucial homeobox gene, has been detected in various forms of cancer. This has led to this region being proposed as a potential biomarker for diseases such as cancer. We conclude the review by describing a recently developed novel electrochemical method that can be used to quantify the level of methylation within the EN1 promoter and emphasise the growing trend in the use of electrochemical techniques for the detection of aberrant DNA methylation.
  • Prospects for petcoke utilization with CO 2 capture in Mexico

    Font Palma, Carolina; Gonzalez Diaz, Abigail; University of Chester; Instituto Nacional de Electricidad y Energías Limpias (INEEL) (Elsevier, 2018-01-31)
    This paper evaluates the introduction of carbon capture and storage (CCS) to Mexico. The gasification technology is presented as a potential alternative to be applied into refinery plants due to high petcoke production. Although economic aspects, such as fuel price and selling CO2, are important in the selection of CCS alternatives, there are other limitations, i.e. water availability and space. In March 2014, Mexico launched its CCS technological roadmap. However, an evaluation of the installation of new CO2-capture ready power plants was not considered. For that reason, this study could be useful to create a technology roadmap that includes the design of CO2 capture plants into refineries and how they will have to operate for CO2 emissions reduction, and taking advantage that most of refineries and petrochemical plants are close to oil fields for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) with CCS was chosen in this paper for power generation using petcoke as feedstock. The emissions of CO2 in kg/kWh could be reduced by 68%.
  • Intermediate pyrolysis of biomass energy pellets for producing sustainable liquid, gaseous and solid fuels

    Yang, Y.; Brammer, John G.; Mahmood, A. S. N.; Hornung, A.; Aston University; Institute Branch Sulzbach-Rosenberg (Elsevier, 2014-07-16)
    This work describes the use of intermediate pyrolysis system to produce liquid, gaseous and solid fuels from pelletised wood and barley straw feedstock. Experiments were conducted in a pilot-scale system and all products were collected and analysed. The liquid products were separated into an aqueous phase and an organic phase (pyrolysis oil) under gravity. The oil yields were 34.1 wt.% and 12.0 wt.% for wood and barley straw, respectively. Analysis found that both oils were rich in heterocyclic and phenolic compounds and have heating values over 24 MJ/kg. The yields of char for both feedstocks were found to be about 30 wt.%, with heating values similar to that of typical sub-bituminous class coal. Gas yields were calculated to be approximately 20 wt.%. Studies showed that both gases had heating values similar to that of downdraft gasification producer gas. Analysis on product energy yields indicated the process efficiency was about 75%.
  • Combustion of fuel blends containing digestate pyrolysis oil in a multi-cylinder compression ignition engine

    Hossain, Abul K.; Serrano, Clara; Brammer, John G.; Omran, Abdelnasir; Ahmed, F.; Smith, David I.; Davies, Philip A.; Aston University (Elsevier, 2015-12-23)
    Digestate from the anaerobic digestion conversion process is widely used as a farm land fertiliser. This study proposes an alternative use as a source of energy. Dried digestate was pyrolysed and the resulting oil was blended with waste cooking oil and butanol (10, 20 and 30 vol.%). The physical and chemical properties of the pyrolysis oil blends were measured and compared with pure fossil diesel and waste cooking oil. The blends were tested in a multi-cylinder indirect injection compression ignition engine. Engine combustion, exhaust gas emissions and performance parameters were measured and compared with pure fossil diesel operation. The ASTM copper corrosion values for 20% and 30% pyrolysis blends were 2c, compared to 1b for fossil diesel. The kinematic viscosities of the blends at 40 C were 5–7 times higher than that of fossil diesel. Digested pyrolysis oil blends produced lower in-cylinder peak pressures than fossil diesel and waste cooking oil operation. The maximum heat release rates of the blends were approximately 8% higher than with fossil diesel. The ignition delay periods of the blends were higher; pyrolysis oil blends started to combust late and once combustion started burnt quicker than fossil diesel. The total burning duration of the 20% and 30% blends were decreased by 12% and 3% compared to fossil diesel. At full engine load, the brake thermal efficiencies of the blends were decreased by about 3–7% when compared to fossil diesel. The pyrolysis blends gave lower smoke levels; at full engine load, smoke level of the 20% blend was 44% lower than fossil diesel. In comparison to fossil diesel and at full load, the brake specific fuel consumption (wt.) of the 30% and 20% blends were approximately 32% and 15% higher. At full engine load, the CO emission of the 20% and 30% blends were decreased by 39% and 66% with respect to the fossil diesel. Blends CO2 emissions were similar to that of fossil diesel; at full engine load, 30% blend produced approximately 5% higher CO2 emission than fossil diesel. The study concludes that on the basis of short term engine experiment up to 30% blend of pyrolysis oil from digestate of arable crops can be used in a compression ignition engine.
  • A barrier and techno-economic analysis of small-scale bCHP (biomass combined heat and power) schemes in the UK.

    Wright, Daniel G.; Dey, Prasanta K.; Brammer, John G.; Aston University (Elsevier, 2014-05-17)
    bCHP (Biomass combined heat and power) systems are highly efficient at smaller-scales when a significant proportion of the heat produced can be effectively utilised for hot water, space heating or industrial heating purposes. However, there are many barriers to project development and this has greatly inhibited deployment in the UK. Project viability is highly subjective to changes in policy, regulation, the finance market and the low cost fossil fuel incumbent. The paper reviews the barriers to small-scale bCHP project development in the UK along with a case study of a failed 1.5 MWel bCHP scheme. The paper offers possible explanations for the project’s failure and suggests adaptations to improve the project resilience. Analysis of the project’s: capital structuring; contract length and bankability; feedstock type and price uncertainty, and; plant oversizing highlight the negative impact of the existing project barriers on project development. The research paper concludes with a discussion on the effects of these barriers on the case study project and this industry more generally. A greater understanding of the techno-economic effects of some barriers for small-scale bCHP schemes is demonstrated within this paper, along with some methods for improving the attractiveness and resilience of projects of this kind.
  • The role of Mathematical Modelling in understanding Aging

    Mc Auley, Mark T.; Morgan, Amy; Mooney, Kathleen M.; University of Chester, Edgehill University (CRC Press, 2017-10-25)
    Mathematical models have played key roles in developing our understanding of aging. The first pioneering mathematical models evaluated aging from an evolutionary perspective, generating meaningful insights into why aging occurs and laid the foundations for our current understanding of aging. More recently mathematical models have been used to gain a deeper understanding of the intracellular mechanisms associated with intrinsic aging. This chapter will outline what mathematical modelling is, and the advantages it has over more conventional approaches used in biogerontology. The steps involved in assembling a model will also be described and the leading theoretical frameworks underpinning them will be outlined. Moreover, we discuss in detail a variety of aging focused mechanistic mathematical models which have been developed in recent years. The chapter concludes by challenging the community to develop a unified mechanistic mathematical model which can be used to examine aging in a more integrated fashion.
  • Combined heat and power from the intermediate pyrolysis of biomass materials: performance, economics and environmental impact

    Yang, Yang; Brammer, John G.; Wright, Daniel G.; Scott, Jim; Serrano, Clara; Bridgwater, Tony; Aston University; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2017-02-10)
    Combined heat and power from the intermediate pyrolysis of biomass materials offers flexible, on demand renewable energy with some significant advantages over other renewable routes. To maximize the deployment of this technology an understanding of the dynamics and sensitivities of such a system is required. In the present work the system performance, economics and life-cycle environmental impact is analysed with the aid of the process simulation software Aspen Plus. Under the base conditions for the UK, such schemes are not currently economically competitive with energy and char products produced from conventional means. However, under certain scenarios as modelled using a sensitivity analysis this technology can compete and can therefore potentially contribute to the energy and resource sustainability of the economy, particularly in on-site applications with low-value waste feedstocks. The major areas for potential performance improvement are in reactor cost reductions, the reliable use of waste feedstocks and a high value end use for the char by-product from pyrolysis.
  • Part-load performance of direct-firing and co-firing of coal and biomass in a power generation system integrated with a CO2 capture and compression system

    Ali, Usman; Akram, Muhammad; Font Palma, Carolina; Ingham, Derek B.; Pourkashanian, Mohamed; University of Sheffield; University of Chester; University of Engineering and Technology (Elsevier, 2017-09-18)
    Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) is recognised as a key technology to mitigate CO2 emissions and achieve stringent climate targets due to its potential for negative emissions. However, the cost for its deployment is expected to be higher than for fossil-based power plants with CCS. To help in the transition to fully replace fossil fuels, co-firing of coal and biomass provide a less expensive means. Therefore, this work examines the co-firing at various levels in a pulverised supercritical power plant with post-combustion CO2 capture, using a fully integrated model developed in Aspen Plus. Co-firing offers flexibility in terms of the biomass resources needed. This work also investigates flexibility within operation. As a result, the performance of the power plant at various part-loads (40%, 60% and 80%) is studied and compared to the baseline at 100%, using a constant fuel flowrate. It was found that the net power output and net efficiency decrease when the biomass fraction increases for constant heat input and constant fuel flow rate cases. At constant heat input, more fuel is required as the biomass fraction is increased; whilst at constant fuel input, derating occurs, e.g. 30% derating of the power output capacity at firing 100% biomass compared to 100% coal. Co-firing of coal and biomass resulted in substantial power derating at each part-load operation.
  • Comparative Potential of Natural Gas, Coal and Biomass Fired Power Plant with Post - combustion CO2 Capture and Compression

    Ali, Usman; Font Palma, Carolina; Akram, Muhammad; Agbonghae, Elvis O.; Ingham, Derek B.; Pourkashanian, Mohamed; University of Sheffield, University of Chester, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (Elsevier, 2017-06-07)
    The application of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon neutral techniques should be adopted to reduce the CO2 emissions from power generation systems. These environmental concerns have renewed interest towards the use of biomass as an alternative to fossil fuels. This study investigates the comparative potential of different power generation systems, including NGCC with and without exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), pulverised supercritical coal and biomass fired power plants for constant heat input and constant fuel flowrate cases. The modelling of all the power plant cases is realized in Aspen Plus at the gross power output of 800 MWe and integrated with a MEA-based CO2 capture plant and a CO2 compression unit. Full-scale detailed modelling of integrated power plant with a CO2 capture and compression system for biomass fuel for two different cases is reported and compared with the conventional ones. The process performance, in terms of efficiency, emissions and potential losses for all the cases, is analysed. In conclusion, NGCC and NGCC with EGR integrated with CO2 capture and compression results in higher net efficiency and least efficiency penalty reduction. Further, coal and biomass fired power plants integrated with CO2 capture and compression results in higher specific CO2 capture and the least specific losses per unit of the CO2 captured. Furthermore, biomass with CO2 capture and compression results in negative emissions.

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