Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering Research Collection

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  • Publication
    Investigation of energy and operation flexibility of membrane bioreactors by using benchmark simulation model
    The aims of this study is to investigate operation and energy flexibility of membrane bioreactors for municipal wastewater treatment by mathematical modelling. Compared to conventional active sludge technology, membrane bioreactor has better treatment performance and it can achieve complete retention of solids and very high COD removal. Based on variable electricity price structure, appropriate optimization strategy can save 16% energy cost without violating exiting discharge standards.. The results showed that MBRs have a significant potential to create considerable commercial value by providing energetic flexibility.
      24
  • Publication
    Destabilized Calcium Hydride as a Promising High-Temperature Thermal Battery
    Calcium hydride (CaH2) is considered an ideal candidate for thermochemical energy storage (thermal battery) due to its high energy density and low cost. Its very high operating temperature and poor cycling stability are the main factors that hinder its development and implementation as a thermal battery for concentrated solar power (CSP) plants. In this work, CaH2 was thermodynamically destabilized with aluminum oxide (Al2O3) at a 1:1 molar ratio to release hydrogen at a lower temperature than the hydride alone. Temperature-programmed desorption measurements showed that the addition of Al2O3 destabilized the reaction thermodynamics of hydrogen release from CaH2 by reducing the decomposition temperature to ∼600 °C in comparison to ∼1000 °C for pure CaH2 at 1 bar of H2 pressure. The experimental enthalpy and entropy of this system were determined by pressure composition isotherm measurements between 612 and 636 °C. The enthalpy was measured to be ΔHdes = 100 ± 2 kJ mol–1 of H2, and the entropy was measured to be ΔSdes = 110 ± 2 J·K–1 mol–1 of H2. The XRD after TPD and in situ XRD data confirmed the main product as Ca12Al14O33. The system exhibited a loss of capacity during hydrogen cycling at 636 °C, which was found to be due to sintering of excess Al2O3, as confirmed by X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. The hydrogen cycling capacity was significantly improved by reducing the initial amount of Al2O3 to a 2:1 molar ratio of CaH2 to Al2O3, deeming it as
      57Scopus© Citations 7
  • Publication
    Concentric Annular Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation for Flow Chemistry and Continuous Processing
    A low-cost, modular, robust, and easily customisable continuous liquid-liquid phase separator has been developed that uses a tubular membrane and annular channels to allow high fluidic throughputs while maintaining rapid, surface wetting dominated, phase separation. The system is constructed from standard fluidic tube fittings and allows leak tight connections to be made without the need for adhesives, or O-rings. The units tested in this work have been shown to operate at flow rates of 0.1 – 300 mL/min, with equivalent residence times from 80 to 4 seconds, demonstrating the simplicity of scale-up with these units. Further scale-up to litre per minute scales of operation for single units and tens of litres/minute through limited numbering up should allow these low cost concentric annular tubular membrane separators to be used at continuous production scales for pharmaceutical applications for many solvent systems. In principle this approach may be sufficiently scalable to be utilized in-line, in batch pharmaceutical manufacturing also, through further scale-up and numbering up of units. Several solvent systems with varying interfacial tensions have been investigated, and the critical process parameters affecting successful separation have been identified. An additively manufactured diaphragm based back pressure regulator was also developed and printed in PEEK, allowing highly accurate, adjustable, and chemically compatible pressure control to be accessed at low cost.
      132Scopus© Citations 1
  • Publication
    Tailoring Nanoparticle-Biofilm Interactions to Increase the Efficacy of Antimicrobial Agents Against Staphylococcus aureus
    Background: Considering the timeline required for the development of novel antimicrobial drugs, increased attention should be given to repurposing old drugs and improving anti-microbial efficacy, particularly for chronic infections associated with biofilms. Methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) are common causes of biofilm-associated infections but produce different biofilm matrices.MSSA biofilm cells are typically embedded in an extracellular polysaccharide matrix, whereas MRSA biofilms comprise predominantly of surface proteins and extracellular DNA (eDNA). Nanoparticles (NPs) have the potential to enhance the delivery of antimicro-bial agents into biofilms. However, the mechanisms which influence the interactions between NPs and the biofilm matrix are not yet fully understood. Methods:To investigate the influence of NPs surface chemistry on vancomycin (VAN) encapsulation and NP entrapment in MRSA and MSSA biofilms, mesoporous silica nano-particles (MSNs) with different surface functionalization (bare-B, amine-D, carboxyl-C,aromatic-A) were synthesised using an adapted Stöber method. The antibacterial efficacy of VAN-loaded MSNs was assessed against MRSA and MSSA biofilms. Results: The two negatively charged MSNs (MSN-B and MSN-C) showed a higher VAN loading in comparison to the positively charged MSNs (MSN-D and MSN-A). Cellular binding with MSN suspensions (0.25 mg mL−1) correlated with the reduced viability of both MSSA andMRSA biofilm cells. This allowed the administration of low MSNs concentrations while maintaining a high local concentration of the antibiotic surrounding the bacterial cells. Conclusion: Our data suggest that by tailoring the surface functionalization of MSNs,enhanced bacterial cell targeting can be achieved, leading to a novel treatment strategy for biofilm infections.
      88Scopus© Citations 27
  • Publication
    Surface functionalization-dependent localization and affinity of SiO2 nanoparticles within the biofilm EPS matrix
    The contribution of the biofilm extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) matrix to reduced antimicrobial sus-ceptibility in biofilms is widely recognised. As such, the direct targeting of the EPS matrix is a promising biofilmcontrol strategy that allows for the disruption of the matrix, thereby allowing a subsequent increase in suscep-tibility to antimicrobial agents. To this end, surface-functionalized nanoparticles (NPs) have received considerableattention. However, the fundamental understanding of the interactions occurring between engineered NPs andthe biofilm EPS matrix has not yet been fully elucidated. An insight into the underlying mechanisms involvedwhen a NP interacts with the EPS matrix will aid in the design of more efficient NPs for biofilm control. Here wedemonstrate the use of highly specificfluorescent probes in confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) toillustrate the distribution of EPS macromolecules within the biofilm. Thereafter, a three-dimensional (3D)colocalization analysis was used to assess the affinity of differently functionalized silica NPs (SiNPs) and EPSmacromolecules fromPseudomonasfluorescensbiofilms. Results show that both the charge and surface functionalgroups of SiNPs dramatically affected the extent to which SiNPs interacted and localized with EPS macromole-cules, including proteins, polysaccharides and DNA. Hypotheses are also presented about the possible physico-chemical interactions which may be dominant in EPS matrix-NP interactions. This research not only develops aninnovative CLSM-based methodology for elucidating biofilm-nanoparticle interactions but also provides a plat-form on which to build more efficient NP systems for biofilm control.
      94Scopus© Citations 13