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Low carbon energy: innovative technologies for CCUS

Project Description

Increasing demand for clean energy has led to massive research activities towards the development of energy efficient and environment friendly technological solutions of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) which encompasses methods to remove CO2 from the flue gas and from the atmosphere, recycling the CO2 for utilization storage options without safety concerns.

Absorption-based separation can be used for pre-combustion carbon dioxide removal from natural gas. However this technology is not ready for direct implantation for the carbon capture from flue gas from large point sources such as power houses, cement plants and iron furnaces. This is because of relatively high cost of carbon dioxide removal from flue gas that reduces the thermal efficiency of power plants and increases cost of energy, cement and steel manufacturing. The major challenge is therefore to develop greener processes with better solvents or membranes with superior separation efficiency towards carbon dioxide at minimal parasitic energy demand. These media must be readily re-usable and should be economically attractive, at least in the longer run.

In our earlier work, we developed a rapid experimental method of measuring gas-liquid equilibria required for the process design. We also reported a class of ionic liquids and mixed ionic solvents showing very high affinities for the separation of gases including carbon dioxide.

Separation and conversion of carbon dioxide to produce marketable products will be studied in this project.

The successful candidate should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a UK Honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in chemical/ energy/ material/ oil & gas engineering.

The student must have an appetite for experimental and theoretical research with a boarder inter-disciplinary agenda covering chemical engineering, energy technologies, material engineering, and industrial chemistry.

The student must have a deeper interest in chemical processes and products, chemical thermodynamics, reactions engineering, biotechnology and environmental science.


Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct person for processing.


Informal inquiries can be made to Dr W Afzal () with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ().

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. It is for self-funded students only.


1. Bernardo, P., E. Drioli, and G. Golemme. "Membrane gas separation: a review/state of the art." Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 48.10 (2009): 4638-4663.
2. Mahajan, Rajiv, and William J. Koros. "Mixed matrix membrane materials with glassy polymers. Part 1." Polymer Engineering & Science 42.7 (2002): 1420-1431.
3. Afzal, Waheed, Xiangyang Liu, and John M. Prausnitz. "High solubilities of carbon dioxide in tetraalkyl phosphonium-based ionic liquids and the effect of diluents on viscosity and solubility." Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data 59.4 (2014): 954-960.
4. Afzal, Waheed, Xiangyang Liu, and John M. Prausnitz. "Physical data for a process to separate krypton from air by selective absorption in an ionic liquid." Fluid Phase Equilibria 404 (2015): 124-130.
5. Wickham, David T., Kevin J. Gleason, and Scott W. Cowley. Advanced supported liquid membranes for carbon dioxide control in extravehicular activity applications." U.S. Patent No. 9,044,566. 2 Jun. 2015.
6. Kárászová, Magda, et al. "Effective permeability of binary mixture of carbon dioxide and methane and pre-dried raw biogas in supported ionic liquid membranes." Separation and Purification Technology 153 (2015): 14-18.
7. Rosenboom, Jan-Georg, Waheed Afzal, and John M. Prausnitz. "Solubilities of some organic solutes in 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate. Chromatographic measurements and predictions from COSMO-RS." The Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics 47 (2012): 320-327.

How good is research at Aberdeen University in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 38.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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