Research Focus Areas

Current environmental, economic and social drivers create the challenges that need to be addressed in the 21st century. Dwindling fossil fuel resources and climate change pave the way for new approaches in energy production and consumption. Environmental sustainable processes of the future require new knowledge and insight for safe and economic manufacture. The health of humans and the environment require improved and economically attractive solutions. As such, Energy & CO2, Sustainable Manufacturing of Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals and Health of humans and the Environment provide the focus areas for our research. Chemical engineering research integrated with basic science, offers great potential for bringing essential understanding and innovative technological solutions to the challenges of the future. 

Energy & CO2


Ensuring the supply of secure, clean and sustainable energy is one of the greatest scientific and technical challenges facing humanity. Chemical engineering has a central role in tackling the global energy challenge by continuing to improve the efficiency of extraction, processing and use of conventional hydrocarbon-based fuels, as well as developing alternative and renewable energy technologies. In order to meet the targets for energy efficiency and CO2 emissions, the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies must be accelerated, with particular emphasis given to those that have the potential to realize ‘step-change’ performance. The Department’s extensive energy and low-carbon research programme spans many technology, process and application areas. In order for this work to have the greatest possible impact, we strive to advance promising technologies to deployment and commercialization levels.

Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing

Photo of gas plant towers against blue sky

In the heart of chemical engineering are chemical transformations by which raw materials are converted to products such as fuels, commodity and specialty chemicals, pharmaceuticals, construction materials, consumer products. Our current awareness of the world’s finite resources, demands that these products are obtained in a sustainable, efficient and environmentally acceptable fashion.
In this mission, it is paramount to minimise waste and energy use, and make increasingly use of renewable raw materials. A new generation of ultra-efficient manufacturing technologies, flexible chemical plants, integrated process development and innovative design approaches can provide the solutions to this important challenge. 

Health & Environment

Photo of medicine pills and bottles

Growing population, limited resources, shortage of good quality water and secured supplies of food and vaccines are some of the major challenges facing the society today. Chemical engineers are well positioned to play a key role in providing solutions to these challenges and also make major contributions to multi-disciplinary projects involving fundamental scientists, engineers, clinicians and policy makers. Our role covers a wide spectrum, for example, from manufacturing and distribution of drugs to designing devices for the optimal control of the delivery of drugs to the patient in the hospital bed.

Page last modified on 07 oct 11 12:18