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Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme


  Luc Liedtke,


  Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, St Edmund's College

  PhD thesis title:Developing and Optimising Separation Processes for Sustainable Ammonia Production

  Research Interests:
  1. Renewable Haber-Bosch Process
  2. Absorptive Separation Processes
                                3. Chemical Energy Storage
                                4. Reactor Design

Chemical energy storage plays an important role in addressing the mismatch between energy demand and supply that is faced by renewable energies. Whilst hydrogen is attracting much attention as an energy vector in this regard, there are large concerns regarding the high costs and dangers associated with hydrogen storage. Hence, it may be more advantageous to utilise a hydrogen-enriched compound for transportation and storage purposes instead of hydrogen gas. The only carbon-free hydrogen carrier that can be sustainably produced for this purpose is ammonia which possesses a greater volumetric energy density than hydrogen and can be stored as a liquid under milder conditions than hydrogen. Unfortunately, the present industrial method of producing ammonia (Haber-Bosch process) is ill-suited to the intermittent nature of renewable energies and hence, during my PhD, I will be working on developing kinetic and mechanistic models for separation processes applicable to a more flexible Haber-Bosch process.

Who or what inspired you to pursue your research interests?
I have always wanted to contribute to the scientific research driving the transition towards a more sustainable future and found myself developing a particular interest in energy technologies during my undergraduate studies. Driven by this, I completed a summer internship with my current research group where I investigated catalysts to produce renewable ammonia as an energy vector to hydrogen. During this internship, I realised how much I enjoyed academic research and with the support of my supervisors and family, decided to pursue my research interests by doing a PhD.