SCGC–FIRST awards announced

SCGC–FIRST awards announced

The recipients of the inaugural SCGC–FIRST awards have been announced, marking a significant milestone in the University of Oxford’s collaboration with SCG Chemicals Public Company Limited (SCGC).

SCG-Oxford Centre of Excellence logo

From amongst the exceptional applications received from the Departments of Chemistry, Materials, and Engineering Science, the four chosen projects exemplify innovation and promise to accelerate sustainable technology development in the chemicals industry.

Discovering chemical reaction mechanisms for cost-effective and carbon-neutral hydrogen production using reinforcement learning

Philip Torr, Professor of Engineering Science

Prof Torr and his team aim to develop cost-effective, carbon-neutral hydrogen production via ammonia synthesis and decomposition, using Reinforcement Learning to understand the chemical reaction mechanisms.

From novel core-shell precursors to plasma enhanced catalysis

Grant Ritchie, Head of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Dermot O’Hare, Professor of Materials and Organometallic Chemistry

This project will address a pilot programme on the interaction of cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) with size-selected catalyst precursors. A clear goal is informed reactor and catalyst design for PEC; new understanding will enable optimised catalysts and reactors for HDPE breakdown into hydrocarbons, hydrogen and nitrogen containing species. This will serve as a trial before a more in-depth study of prototypical waste polymer relevant to environmental sustainability in the plastics market.

Efficient ammonia synthesis at mild conditions over tailored oxide catalysts

Edman Tsang, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry

This is a novel and high gain one-year feasibility project on efficient catalytic ammonia synthesis at mild conditions over tailored oxide catalysts. It is believed that this project could lead to the incorporation of Oxford's intellectual richness, involving Chemistry, Materials, Engineering Science and Smith School scientists, which will help SCGC to become an active player in a new market with large scope of growth, consolidate their leadership in green energy and provide high impact publicity.

This project is leading toward potential solutions to green energy storage and transport and demonstrate distinct advantages in environmental footprint over already available competing approaches.

Packed bed sonochemical reactor design for catalytic CO2 reduction – design and characterisation

James Kwan, Associate Professor of Engineering Science

There is a growing need to supply a sustainable and economical avenue for CO2 waste streams from chemical processes. Utilising CO2 is part of the global shift towards Net Zero goals by governments and industries such as SCGC. The overarching objective of this project is to convert CO2 to hydrocarbons with catalytic sonochemistry. But current approaches use suspended catalysts, which require separation. This limits scalability and industrial translation. Prof Kwan and his group propose a novel design of a packed bed sonochemical reactor (PBSR) to address these challenges.

The next call for SCGC–FIRST applications will launch in early Michaelmas 2024. You can visit the SCG–Oxford Centre of Excellence website to keep up to date. If you would like further details regarding SCGC–FIRST and wish to arrange a meeting, please feel free to contact SCGC Alliance Manager Gulcin Avul at