Novel Materials and Reforming Process Route for the Production of Ready-Separated CO2/N2/H2 from Natural Gas Feedstocks

The project provided consumables for 5 PhD students at different stages of their PhD. Below are their accounts of how they experienced the project: 


My experiences with the UKCCSRC Call 2 Project funded project at the University of Leeds have been very much tied in with my experiences as a PhD student as these two events have unfurled simultaneously. There have been the highs of working in international collaborations and conferences in oh so glamourous locations but also lows of equipment setbacks and late nights working. However the vast majority of my time working on the Call 2 project: Novel materials and reforming has been overwhelmingly positive.

A particular highlight has been the opportunity to work at SINTEF in Norway in a collaboration made possible by the UKCCSRC funding. As a result of the familiarity between the UKCCSRC and ECCSEL I was able to forge a connection with SINTEF in Norway and was able to greatly advance my research through a collaborative project with some very advanced thermogravimetric analysis equipment. This has been a great aid in my research and will feature heavily in my thesis! In addition to the professional advantages it brought I made some great personal connection with some great people and hope to return to Norway in the future.

Zaheer Syed ABBAS

The mathematical modeling of the SE-CLSR process in a packed bed is not reported in the literature. To fill this gap, a one-dimensional mathematical model of the SE-CLSR process is developed and implemented in gPROMS model builder 4.1.0® for the solution of model equations in my work. During the course of my PhD, there were many ups and downs. The most tedious part was the development of reforming kinetics. It took me almost 6 months of experimental work in the laboratory to find the true reaction kinetics of the SMR process.  At the start, gPROMS model builder was GREEK for me. I tried every single thing to write the successful code for my first model i.e. SMR process in a packed bed reactor. I was able to attend a training course on the introduction of gPROMS conducted by Process System Enterprise (PSE) in London. This 3 days training workshop helped me to explore new techniques present in this software for my modeling work. Now, I can say that the modeling work was the most exciting part of my research work

I presented my work at 6th High Temperature Solid Looping Cycles Conference, Politecnico Di Milano, Milan, Italy (1st – 2nd September 2015). This conference provided me an opportunity to interact with leading researcher in my field which later helped me at various stages of my research work. Later, I presented my work on SE-SMR process at UKCCSRC Manchester Biannual Meeting on 14th April 2016. I presented my poster at UKCCSRC Call Projects Showcase Poster reception in London on 27th June 2016.

I defended my PhD in September 2016 and up till now I have published three research articles from my work. The list of my research articles is as follow;

•          “Kinetics study and modeling of steam methane reforming process over a NiO/Al 2O3 catalyst in an adiabatic packed bed reactor” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 42.5 (2017): 2889-2903.

•          “Modeling of high purity H2 production via sorption enhanced chemical looping steam reforming of methane in a packed bed reactor.” Fuel 202 (2017): 271-286.

•          “Modeling of H2 production in a packed bed reactor via sorption enhanced steam methane reforming process.” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (2017)

Currently, I am working as an assistant professor in university of engineering and technology, Lahore.



The research project that I am conducting is to develop CaO-based sorbents with high sintering resistance during CO2 removal at 850°C. The novelty of my research work comes from the incorporation of an inert support namely, Saffil fibres that act as a thermal stabilizer of CaO. In the course of almost 2 years of my PhD, I have faced different issues, most of which have arisen from the preparation of the CO2 sorbents. The first challenges to overcome have been the selection of suitable preparation methods and raw materials to prepare the supported sorbents. On account of that, I did an extended literature review, then, wet chemical routes were selected (wet impregnation and precipitation). Subsequently, I struggled for more than 5 months in finding out the optimum conditions for reaching a homogeneous distribution of the active phase over the Saffil fibres periphery. In order to scrutinize the preparation parameters, each sorbent were analysed by Scanning Electron Microscopy. After countless experiments, I finally settled up the optimal conditions for each synthesis route.

In terms of testing the CaO-based sorbents as CO2 captors, I can assert that it has been the most exciting part of my research. Finding that the sorbents prepared in house presented higher thermal stability in contrast with conventional CaO was beyond any description. Nowadays, I am writing a second paper draft for the publication of the results obtained in the second half of my second year and I can say that this is one of the greatest satisfaction due to academic effort and dedication. 

Finally, I am starting the last stage of my PhD, which is associated with the determination of carbonation and calcination kinetics. There is still a long way to go but I am optimistic that I will be able to cope with the new challenges.


Zainab Ibrahim Sarkin Gobir ADIYA

I was a PhD candidate at the University of Leeds. Passion, determination and desire to contribute to the world positively got me there. Doing a PhD was exciting, challenging and highly stimulating. Leeds city has a good atmosphere with people of diverse culture and background. Life as a PhD candidate is exciting, yet stressful.

My research is about finding out the effect of In-situ CO2 Sorption and chemical looping on steam reforming of unconventional gaseous feedstocks. It began with literature review, followed by thermodynamic stimulation, then experimental studies, that I rounded up with materials characterization.  I submitted my thesis and passed my viva with a recommendation for minor editorial corrections, I have now resubmitted my revised thesis and am currently writing publications based on their chapters. I have a paper published, one paper accepted and two experimental papers to submit soon. After having completed my PhD, I feel nothing is impossible!



I took over Zaheer’s model to understand how the chemical looping reactor might fit into an integrated process which produces ready-separated gases, so the next step was to consider the purification requirements. I developed a rigorous model of an adsorption bed that would go downstream of the SECLSR reactor.

Like the SECLSR reactor model, this adsorption bed model was built in gPROMS, so that eventually the two models might be fully integrated into one single process. I began by building the model and validating it based on examples found in literature. Having done this, I was able to use it to demonstrate the purification of the gas from the SECLSR reactor.

Adsorption beds have been studied extensively, so I was able to draw on plenty of ideas and data from literature. Instead, the real challenge was learning how to code the problem into gPROMS, as this was my first experience of using it. This was a learning curve which could be frustrating and satisfying in equal measure! However, it was a useful introduction to modelling, and to the principles of SECLSR, which has built good foundations for the rest of my PhD.

In the future, my objective is to model a SECLSR process that uses bio-oil as renewable organic feedstock using Aspen Plus for the full plant model, and to acetic acid as single compound surrogate bio-oil using gPROMS for the reformer reactor.