Research Seminar Series

Please contact the Seminar Series Coordinators if you have any queries regarding any upcoming events.

Audrey Luiz, Room 413,

Trading Renewable Energy by using Carbon Dioxide: a New Options towards a Greener Chemistry & Energy Future

Gabriele Centi & Siglinda Perathoner
Venue: Level 4, Room 407, Common Room, Chemical Engineering Building
Date: Thursday 6 November 2014
Time: 11 am
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About the Speakers

Gabriele Centi is full professor of Industrial Chemistry at the University of Messina, Italy, and
President of the European Research Institute of Catalysis (ERIC). Research interests are in the
areas of applied heterogeneous catalysis, sustainable energy and chemical processes, and
environment protection. He was a former President of the European Federation of Catalysis
Societies (EFCATS) and actually vice-President of the International Association of Catalysis
Societies (IACS). He is Chair of editorial board of ChemSusChem, Chief Editor of the Book Series
Studies in Surface Science and Catalysis and Green Energy. He is author of over 370 scientific
publications and over 10 books. Current IF (Google Scholar) is 63 with over 13000 citations.
Siglinda Perathoner gained her PhD in Chemical Science in 1988 working on the photophysics
and photochemistry of supramolecular systems. From 2001 she joined the University of Messina
and is associate professor of Industrial Chemistry presently. She has coordinated many EU
projects in the area of nanomaterials, catalysts and sustainable chemical processes. Her recent
research interests include nanostructured zeolites, catalytic membranes, catalysts for waste water
purification and remediation, photo(electro)catalytic conversion of carbon dioxide, and fuel cells.
She is author of over 220 scientific publications and 3 books. Current IF (Google Scholar) is 48
with over 7200 citations.


Replacement of part of the fossil fuel consumption by renewable energy is a central strategy for resource and
energy efficiency and to move to a greener (sustainable) chemistry and energy future. This lecture, organized in
two parts presented from the two speakers, will show that CO2 is the key molecule to proceed effectively in this
direction. The routes, opportunities and barriers in increasing the share of renewable energy by using CO2 reaction
and their impact on the chemical and energy value chains are discussed after introducing the general aspects of
this topic evidencing the tight integration between the CO2 use and renewable energy insertion in the value chain
of process industry. The focus is on the catalytic aspects of the chemistries involved with also a short analysis of
the possible scenario for CO2 as an intermediary for the incorporation of renewable energy in the process industry.
The second part will discuss two specific aspects, i) the utilization of CO2 to produce methanol in remote areas,
where cheap renewable H2 could be produced from renewable sources and ii) the production of light olefins
(ethylene, propylene) from CO2. The relevance of availability, cost and environmental footprint of H2 production
routes using renewable energies is also addressed.

Mathematical Modelling and Time-Valued Energy Analysis of Solar Kilns for Wood Drying

Mahmudul Hasan
Venue: Level 3, Lecture Theatre 2, Chemical Engineering Building
Date: Thursday 6 November 2014
Time: 11 am
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About the Speaker

Mahmudul Hasan is a PhD candidate working under supervision of Professor Timothy Langrish and Associate Professor Ali Abbas in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.


Understanding the properties of wood and the performance of solar kilns during the drying process using an experimental approach alone poses practical difficulties due to the extremely large number of variables that must be considered, in addition to the large experimental time involved and the cost. Thus, modelling and simulation of solar kilns for wood drying has been the focus of research in timber-drying technology. One of the challenges in solving the system of ODEs, which describe the physical variables (associated with wood drying and kiln environment) as a function of time, is the stiffness of the system- a stability issue.
In the first part of this seminar, a mathematical model for solar kilns, together with the techniques adopted to deal with the stability issues, will be outlined. Then, the implementation of this model to assess how a particular solar kiln responded to different climatic and geographical situations will be explained. After that, the relative performance, as predicted by the simulation, for the two different kiln designs (Oxford and Boral) will be presented.
Human societies are traditionally required to discount distant outputs over those available at the present time depending upon the risks associated with an uncertain future. It is important to understand that energy produced today is worth more than energy produced next year or next decade. Unfortunately, many investors and decision makers choose projects based on their life cycle economic return, which is determined by the principal that governs the Time Value of Money. This approach is not a very accurate method to use when analysing energy projects because it measures cash flow, an indirect and often inaccurate, measure of energy flow. In the second section of the seminar, the significance of the concept “Time Value of Energy”, and the proposed methodology for Time Value of Energy analysis for solar kilns will be presented.