by Wei Cheng Hooi (ChemE 2T0)
In the past summer, I had the opportunity to participate in a research project with Dr Francisco R Garcia Garcia at the University of Edinburgh as a visiting student. My project was titled “ New Approaches for Automotive Emissions Control”. The current three-way catalytic converter is expensive and occupying a significant space in the exhaust system of a car engine. The platinum group metal (PGM) catalysts used in commercially available catalytic converters are getting scarce, which makes them so expensive.
The research project aims to synthesize and study the performance of potential PGM-free catalysts to replace the current expensive PGM catalysts. The candidate with the best performance will be deposited into a hollow fibre substrate in the next stage of the project to study the feasibility of a hollow fibre catalytic converter employed in car engines using commercially available gasoline. The hollow fibre catalytic converter will be cheaper and smaller than the current catalytic converter due to the cheaper non-noble metal catalyst and the high surface area to volume ratio of hollow fibres.
The experimental results showed that the perovskite catalysts I was working on perform well for the oxidation of carbon monoxide and is not significantly poisoned by sulphur in the exhaust gas. More reaction experiments which involve hollow fibres will be conducted by other students in the future to further study on the performance of the catalysts.
From this research exchange experience, I had the opportunity to be heavily involved in a research project starting from reviewing literature papers, planning the experiments, analyzing data and preparing graphics for literature papers. This is a good way to find out more about graduate studies. It was also a great chance to experience a different culture, explore new places, making a new group of friends, and understanding the difference in the engineering programs offered in different countries.
Last but not least, I would like to express my gratitude to the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry for offering me the Dorothy Meldrum Szymaszek Student Exchange Award, which supported my research exchange experience financially.