Sustainable Engineering

Key Facts

7 Academics
6 PDRAs
43 PhD Students

Selected funders

Arvia, Battelle, Croda, Fujifilm, GSK.

Work with

GSK, INEOS ChlorVinyls, Kellogg's, Brunel Cargill, Tesco, Heinz.


Research within this theme explores the challenges that arise for industry from the drive towards sustainable development.

The diverse but interrelated research covers process design, innovative manufacturing, life cycle sustainability assessment and optimisation, clean and clean-up technologies and sustainable use of resources (water, energy, bio-feedstocks). The research in this area benefits from an integrated approach that combines science, engineering, environmental and socio-economic analysis. More >>

Research areas

  • Sustainable industrial systems

    The main aim of this research is to help identify sustainable solutions for industrial systems on a life cycle basis, taking into account economic, environmental and social aspects. We work across different sectors and supply chains including chemicals, construction, food & drink, energy and transport. In addition to industrial organisations, we collaborate with government, NGO and other organisations.

    Please contact Adisa Azapagic for further details of current research activity.

  • Modelling and simulation

    The group draws on a world-class School infrastructure for statistical mechanics, computer modelling and thermodynamics, focusing on molecular to nano-scale phenomena. This provides input into the prediction of phase behaviour and the thermodynamic properties of complex mixtures – an example are those relevant to separation processes in the nuclear industry or the interactions of carbon dioxide with ground water in the case of carbon dioxide storage.

    Please contact Adisa Azapagic for further details of current research activity.

  • Fuel cells

    Low temperature fuel cells are being studied to facilitate their route to market in a range of portable applications from mobile phones to vehicles.

    A range of challenges have prevented the widespread adoption of fuel cell technologies across energy generation sectors. A significant portion of these challenges are related to the materials incorporated in a fuel cell being either very expensive (eg platinum) or non-ideal (eg Nafion in Direct Methanol Fuel Cells). The aim of the research is to utilise novel materials and synthetic approaches to try and tackle these issues. Organophobic materials have been incorporated into membranes to selectively repel methanol and novel structures such as graphene, graphene oxide and graphene supported nobel metals are being trialled to demonstrate if the reported enhancements are effective in a fuel cell environment. The work is closely linked to the Graphene Institute along with Prof Peter Budd in Chemistry, Dr Flor Siperstein and Dr Paola Carbone in CEAS and Dr Sarah Haig in Materials Science.

    Please contact one of the following academic staff for further details of current research activity: Stuart Holmes, Flor Siperstein, Paola Carbone.

  • Green chemistry and catalysis

    Dr Arthur Garforth has been involved in the area of Green Chemistry and Catalysis for over 20 years with key interests in how heterogeneous catalysts can improve selectivity and sustainability and example projects are:

    • the recycling of mixed plastic waste;
    • the development of improved hydroisomerisation improving RON of transportation fuels;
    • the development of improved dehydrogenation catalysts and generating hydrogen for the H2 economy for stationary and mobile sources;
    • the manufacture of structured catalysts based on Fe based alloys.

    Additional staff in this area have joined CEAS in the area of heterogeneous catalysis over the last 6 months; Dr Xiaolei Fan and Dr Jaiwei Wang. Dr Alastair Martin also works on the area of biomass gasification and recycling polymer waste with Dr A Garforth.

    Please contact one of the following academic staff for further details of current research activity: Arthur Garforth, Xiaolei Fan, Jiawei Wang, Alastair Martin.

Research degrees

We offer postgraduate research PhD, MPhil, MSc by Research, and EngD programmes. Read More >>

View the current funded studentships for PhD study within the School.

The School also has a number of funded scholarships linked to specific research projects.

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