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Robert Bloom


I completed my undergraduate BEng and MEng in Chemical and Energy Engineering at the University of Leeds in the summer of 2013; this mixed traditional chemical engineering disciplines such as reaction engineering, fluid dynamics and mass/energy balances with an awareness of climate change, air pollution and renewables. My dissertation was conducted with my current PhD supervisor Dr Valerie Dupont on the subject of the autothermal reforming of biodiesel for hydrogen production. The focus on renewable and alternative energy combined with energy efficient technologies that I gained in my undergraduate degree was complemented by an MSc in Low Carbon Technologies that I undertook in 2013-15. This degree also expanded my knowledge on a wide range of topics such as: climate science, nanotechnology, UK and International climate policy and the UK's energy system. My dissertation was conducted on the production of hydrogen and carbon nanotubes from plastic wastes conducted with the help of Professor Paul T Williams. The work in the above degrees inspired my current PhD project in hydrogen production.

PhD Project: Development and optimisation of novel fibrous oxygen carriers for chemical looping reforming processes

My research concerns the development and testing of novel catalytic materials for use in hydrogen production processes including steam reforming (SR) and chemical looping reforming (CLR) of methane and natural gas. I have developed several Nickel/Cobalt catalysts using a novel catalytic support material known as Saffil; a polycrystalline silica/alumina fibre. My work revolves around experimentally assessing what factors in the SR and CLR process will be affected by the use of fibrous catalysts, and how different synthesis methods for the materials affect these factors. The aim of the project is to show that fibrous catalysts present a more flexible and mass efficient catalyst effectively offering increased catalytic performance with a similar or decreased mass of catalyst. My project spans several research areas including materials research, reaction engineering, kinetics determination and process engineering and has established collaborations with SINTEF (Norway) and attracted funding through the UKCCSRC.