Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies

Scientists and engineers working together for a sustainable future

Tagged: Jon Wagner

Powering our world of the future: Sustainable transport fuels from microalgae

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📥  Events, Research updates

Final year student Jon Wagner was one of the five shortlisted finalists for The Ede and Ravenscroft Prize

The Ede and Ravenscroft Prize is an annual award for the best postgraduate research student awarded for the first time in 1991 and is generously funded by Ede and Ravenscroft, appointed robemakers to HM The Queen. 

Watch Jon's presentation on sustainable transport fuels from microalgae.


Jon is working on his PhD on "Novel materials for catalytic conversion of bio-oils" with Dr Valeska Ting, Professor Mark Weller and Dr Chris Chuck.


British weather in Brazil...Challenges in Chemical Renewable Energy conference

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📥  Seminars & Conferences

This post is contributed by Joe Donnelly.

During September a trio of CSCT students (Myself, Jonathan Wagner and David Miles) attended Challenges in Chemical Renewable Energy (ISACS17), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Joe_Donnelly_ISACS17_01The 12 hour flight from Heathrow was a relatively pleasant affair, despite a lady sat next to me enjoying a 12 hour headphone techno marathon - something which would have been annoying if it was not so impressive. We went appropriately packed for sun, sea and sand, ready to hit Copacabana. Although Dave had forgotten his flip flops this was easily remedied owing to the many flip flop vendors in the area - however, Rio had apparently been saving all of its cloud and rain for our arrival- alas the bottom fell out of our plans (and the bag containing Dave's new flip flops). But after all, we are British and unless we were going to need a dinghy to get to the beach front bars, it was going to happen. When we were not at the conference or supporting the local beachfront economy, we found some time to go and see Christ the Redeemer and a few other local attractions.

Joe_Donnelly_ISACS17_02The conference was attended by around 100 people from a range of backgrounds/disciplines making for an interesting mix. The small size of the conference also allowed for conversation opportunities with most of the presenters. Research topics focussed on upgrading of bio-derived resources- something which I was personally attending for, and also many interesting talks on solar fuels and photovoltaics. It was interesting to see these different disciplines being discussed in the same stream as each other and led to interesting discussions about where exactly each of the technologies would fit in the future energy mix. The conference was concluded by a panel discussion on this very issue, and included representatives from industry, academia and government.

Overall the conference was a valuable experience, with the opportunity to talk to some leaders in the field without them being whisked away to prearranged meetings after their talks. It is worth noting however that there was only one stream, and due to the relatively diverse nature of topics on show, not all talks were of particular relevance to any one person.

Joe is working towards his PhD on "(Bio)catalytic synthesis of a novel transport fuel substitute from industrially produced ferementation products" with Dr Chris Chuck, Dr Marcelle McManus and Dr Chris Bannister.

CSCT team wins Energy YES 2014

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📥  Events, Prizes & awards

On 21-23 May 2014, a team of PhD students from the CSCT took part in Energy YES, a national competition giving students the opportunity to learn about business and entrepreneurship through mentoring, workshops and pitching a business idea to a panel of "Dragons Den" style judges. PhD student Emily Hayward brings us this description of how she and the rest of Team CSCT won the top prize.

Stephen Wood, Heather Parker, Jon Wagner, Will Mahy and myself took part in the Energy YES (Young Entrepreneurs Scheme) competition based at Alstom’s site in Rugby. The event lasted 3 days and over this time we had the opportunity to meet students from other energy related DTCs, hear from entrepreneurs about their experience setting up an SME (small and medium enterprises) and receive mentoring from a range of business experts.

Before the event we researched areas of technology where there is a gap in the market but research to fill it is still ongoing. After looking at a number of different options we decided we would look at composite materials to make lightweight shipping containers allowing a huge reduction in fuel requirements. We got the idea from the sustainable development course we did during the MRes year and looked at plausible technologies which could be used for this.

While at the event we conducted more in depth research business plan, with the help of various mentors and came up with our company “Absol Composites” based on this. There were a lot of things we had to consider, including the scientific theory of our design, financing, marketing strategies, risk analysis and IP. Each of the presenters and mentors were very helpful and we were able to gain an insight as to how to be successful, as well as hearing of businesses which have struggled to go from the R&D to full scale production. Over the 3 days our idea began to take shape with issues we needed to consider being highlighted to us.

The competition was tough with other groups presenting very strong ideas and business cases, therefore it was a real surprise to win! It was really interesting to hear the ideas other groups had and see how they had taken on board the training we were given. Along with winning a very nice trophy, we now have the opportunity to compete in the Engineering YES final in mid-June.

Conference report: International Bioenergy 2014 Conference, Manchester

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📥  Seminars & Conferences

Whorrod Fellow Dr Chris Chuck, along with DTC students Lisa Sargeant, Fraeya Whiffin, Joe Donnelly and Jon Wagner, recently attended the International Bioenergy 2014 Conference in Manchester. Jon, currently in his second year, has written a summary of the conference over on the Chuck Research Group blog.