Sustainable Energy Engineering
MEng (HG21), BEng (HF21), MEng (H224), BEng (H221)
New BBC programme meets top engineers working who are shaping tomorrow's world.
Saturday 13th April 2013
A new BBC programme delves in to the world of invention, revealing the people and technologies set to transform all our lives. The programme "Horizon: Tomorrow's World" examines the conditions that are promising to make the 21st century a golden age of innovation and meets some of the world's foremost visionaries, mavericks and dreamers.'
Peter Diamandis (Nasa): Physician / aerospace engineer who is developing the first robot to send data images from the moon to earth (google lunar X prize)
Andre Geim (Manchester): Nobel prize winner and inventor of Gratin using materials science nanotechnology. The material has the strongest properties, is highly conductive and impermeable.
Robert Langer (MIT, biomedical engineering): Had the bold vision and drive to implant materials into human tissues more than 30 yrs ago
Cesar Horada: Created a remote controlled sailing vessel to collect oil from shipping disasters. Used the internet to open source / exchange ideas, explore, attract funds and build the prototype
Nobar Afeyan (Joule, energy): Re-engineered nature by genetically modifying cyanobacteria to use sunlight and CO2 to synthesise ethanol as a novel renewable fuel
Michael Pritchard: Developed nanoscale hollow fibre membrane mesh for purifying water in 3rd World
Watch the Horizon programme on the BBC iplayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01rwgt6/Horizon_Tomorr...
A world class jet engine multi-purpose simulation test bench in SEMS
Jet engine test bench
Friday 14th September 2012
Price Induction is a new engine manufacturer which has developed an innovative and lightweight turbofan, the DGEN 380. This high by-pass ratio turbofan has been designed to equip 4-5 seat travel planes also known as “Personal Light Jets”.
The WESTT CS/BV simulation test bench is based on the real test bench used for jet engine development by Price Induction. Over the past few years, these real and virtual engine test benches have been used by French universities for education and research purposes.
This is the first time a WESTT CS/BV test bench has been installed in the UK and it follows successful installations in France, Brazil, and soon in the USA, Germany and Asia. It provides detailed graphical and numerical analysis of the engine performance, aerodynamics, thermodynamics in various conditions as well as access to its control algorithms, laying the foundation for further research and development.
The installation is part of a partnership between Price Induction and SEMS. Mr. Olivier Chéret the deputy CEO of Price Induction added "We are delighted to be in Queen Mary University of London, installing our first multi-purpose test bench in the UK. We see this partnership as an important step in further developing our collaboration with the UK educational and research sectors."
During the coming months the test bench will be incorporated in a wide spectrum of educational and research activities in SEMS ranging from undergraduate teaching of first year students to MEng, MSc and PhD research projects. The test bench will also be used as a demonstrator for visiting academics and researchers.
Engineering and Materials Science at Queen Mary ranked as World Class
Wednesday 25th April 2012
In the latest World University Rankings, Engineering and Materials Science at Queen Mary, University of London were both ranked in the top 100 in the world. This corresponds to a national ranking of 11th in the UK for both engineering and materials science. This reflects a combination of factors including research citations for which Engineering was number 1 in the UK (13th in the World) and Materials Science was number 2 in UK (37th in the World), just behind University of Cambridge.
These latest league tables, along with excellent results in the National Students Survey, confirms QMUL as one of the top UK universities to study engineering and materials science.
Full world rankings:
materials science: http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/world-uni...
National Students Survey: http://www.sems.qmul.ac.uk/news/?eid=2526
Queen Mary University of London joins the Russell Group of top UK Universities
Monday 12th March 2012
The principal of QMUL announced that Queen Mary has accepted and invitation to become a member of the Russell Group, which represents the leading universities in the UK. Queen Mary will become one of only 24 universities represented by the Group, all of whom are committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience, excellent graduate employability, and unrivalled links with business and the public sector. This development is an acknowledgement of QM's status as a top-class research-led institution and is testament to the industry and talent of our staff.
New materials for artificial photosynthesis, Dr Steve Dunn
Monday 28th March 2011
Forthcoming article in Materials Today.
Since titania (TiO2) was first shown to be capable of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, in the presence of an external electric field and super band gap irradiation, it has become synonymous with semiconductor photochemistry. In the years since this discovery over 50 semiconductor systems have been studied, yet to date, none have proven suitable for the commercial, solar generation of a fuel. In essence we are yet to mimic plants and reproduce photosynthesis using semiconductor materials in an economically viable manner.
The importance of addressing this issue has been highlighted across the globe, with over 1000 papers on water splitting being published in 2010. In January 2011 the MRS Bulletin was dedicated to semiconductor strategies for splitting water. In 2010 the Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC) of the UK announced multi-million pound funding for research in this area. There are also other examples from around the world where there is a high level of commitment and support for investigations in this area.
There are, arguably, three main problems associated with the use of semiconductor systems when splitting water to provide a fuel source.
The first is that, to be economically viable, the semiconductor must absorb and become active under visible light illumination. It must also produce excited species that are capable of driving a chemical reaction in the absence of external power supplies. These factors and characteristics are relatively well understood for most semiconductor systems and to a certain extent limit the systems of interest.
The second problem is that the photoexcited carriers can simply recombine within the semiconductor and produce no useful work. This is termed internal recombination and must be prevented as far as possible to enhance performance.
And, the third is that reactants and products are held in close proximity at the surface of the catalyst as they are produced very closely to each other. This means that the equilibrium of the reaction is not pushed completely to products due to the possibility of back reactions. All three of these factors combine to reduce the overall efficiency of the system.
What is being done today to address these issues? Currently the research community is blending semiconductor materials with other semiconductors or metals to increase the amount of sunlight absorbed or reduce internal recombination. Research groups are also focusing on nanostructuring materials to enhance the reactivity of the semiconductor.
Can we learn from photosynthesis? Can we start to use materials to increase the performance of the system? Can we use materials that naturally help, by not suffering from some of problems highlighted above? In nature, plants separate the process of producing excited carriers with the process of reacting them to form a product. I'd like to present the case for materials that can address the second two problems with splitting water, and so maybe learn a little from the natural world.
There are a class of materials that are well known, well characterized, and commercially well used. They can sustain an internal dipole, indefinitely, and this dipole can be measured as a surface charge density of many coulombs per unit area. The large and sustainable dipole interacts with the photoexcited species of electrons and holes, effectively separating them across the surface. This has the impact of spatially separating surface photochemistry the surface exhibits reduction in one location and oxidation in another. It also reduces the ability for the excited carriers to internally recombine. It's as if there's a p-n junction within the single material pulling photoexcited carriers apart.
How much control is there over this selective photochemistry? It has been shown that patterns as small as 100 nm can be drawn and show good fidelity for selective photoreduction of metal cations to metal clusters. Conversely it has also been shown that surfaces as large as many cm2 can also exhibit selective photochemistry. One surface acts as the cathode the other the anode. A further additional benefit is that the large surface dipole can interact with the species on the surface and in the case of molecules disrupt the electrons in the bonding orbitals. This could reduce the energy required to break those bonds and enhance reactivity.
What are these materials? They are ferroelectric materials, such as BaTiO3 and LiNbO3.
The work being undertaken around the globe on blended, core shell, nanostructured, and other forms of semiconductor structure will continue to move forward to address some of the challenges we are currently facing in developing efficient semiconductor systems. But perhaps one answer might lie by thinking outside of the box and investigating new types of materials with inherent properties that can directly address some of the inherent problems associated with the currently systems being developed.