School of Engineering

PhD Projects

Leonidas Bekris

I am a PhD student working in the fields of catalysis, chemical looping and materials science. My research focuses on the development of novel materials that can be utilised as oxygen-carrier materials (OCMs) for methane activation via chemical looping.

Project Description

My project includes design, synthesis, modification and testing of catalysts and OCMs with a focus on exsolved perovskite systems and their employment for the conversion of methane to syngas. SEM, X-ray diffraction, TEM, TGA, EDX and other techniques are utilised for the characterisation of the materials developed. Testing involves temperature programmed reactions in a micro-reactor system and automated micro and lab scale fixed-bed reactor setups to test performance under long term cycling.

My supervisory team consists of Dr Evangelos I. Papaioannou, Dr Kalliopi Kousi, Dr Dragos Neagu and Prof Ian S. Metcalfe.

Interests and Qualifications

I obtained my Diploma in Chemical Engineering from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Patras, Greece in 2016. I gained industrial experience working at Athenian Brewery SA (Group Heineken NV Works) Patras plant, where I worked as a Process Engineer mainly involved with the Total Productive Maintenance Program of the plant. During my studies at Newcastle University I have completed multiple courses on safety and teaching namely: The Cryogenic Safety and Cylinder Safety Training by The Gas Safety Co., BJ Industries Ltd and Introduction to Learning and Teaching workshop – demonstrator and Intellectual Property. Alongside my studies I am involved with teaching in the department as a teaching assistant (Transfer processes II, Heat transfer tutorials, Stage 2) and lab demonstrator (Chemical Engineering Laboratory I and II, Stage 2 and 3). My academic interests include novel material design and development and their applications to challenging energy conversion technologies.

Leonidas Bekris
Leonidas Bekris

Selim Ungut

I joined the Materials, Concepts, and Reaction Engineering Group in 2017 as a PhD research student. My research topic is on the use of novel oxygen-carrier materials (OCMs) for the chemical looping water-gas shift process (CLWGS).

Project Description

Unlike more conventional methods such as steam methane reforming, CLWGS can reduce the need for additional separation steps due the high purity of hydrogen than can be achieved, meaning a potentially cheaper plant cost with a reduced carbon footprint.

Specifically my project focuses on the initial designing and subsequent testing of perovskite-type OCMs. This involves using numerical models to simulate the CLWGS process and tailor OCMs with ideal thermodynamic properties, the use of a laboratory scale fixed-bed reactor to test conversions and OCM performance, thermogravimetric analysis methods to determine oxygen capacity and X-ray diffraction techniques to probe the OCM crystal structure and assess long-term stability.

My principle project supervisor is Dr. Wenting Hu, as well as Prof. Ian Metcalfe as project co-supervisor, both from Newcastle University.

Interests and Qualifications

I graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from Manchester University in 2016, and have had experience in the polymers industry working at Zotefoams plc, a manufacturer of high-performance block foams. My academic interests include hydrogen production, materials science, and reactor design.

Selim Ungut
Selim Ungut

Steve Ward

I am a PhD research student in the field of materials science. I work in developing alternative materials to be used as electrodes in systems which split water into oxygen and hydrogen (electrolysers), or which convert the chemical energy of a fuel into electrical energy (fuel cells).

Project Description

My project involves the synthesis and characterisation of novel, precious metal free catalysts for the oxygen reduction or evolution reactions. The main characterisation technique that I use to examine these materials is X-Ray Diffraction, which uses X-Ray radiation in order to gather information about the structure of the material on an atomic scale.

My supervisory team includes:

  • Dr Stevin Pramana from Newcastle University as the main project supervisor
  • Dr Mohamed Mamlouk and Professor Lidija Siller from Newcastle University as project co-supervisors

Interests and Qualifications

I graduated with a degree in chemistry from Teesside University in 2014. Before beginning my PhD in December 2017, I held a variety of positions in industry, including technical development specialist at the now closed Redcar steel plant, and works chemist in a hearing aid battery manufacturer.

My academic interests are green chemistry, materials and energy science, and crystallography. After finishing my PhD I hope to continue working in academic research.

Steve Ward
Steve Ward