Each year SCI’s Scotland group runs a competition where students are invited to write a short article describing how their PhD research relates to SCI’s strapline: where science meets business.
Tianheng Qin, an Engineering PhD student at the University of Aberdeen, was a runner-up in this year’s competition. His article ‘Fuelling the Future: Hydrogen Production from Waste Plastics in Scotland Aligns with UK's Net Zero Strategy and Attracts Investment’ is reproduced below:
Fuelling the Future: Hydrogen Production from Waste Plastics in Scotland Aligns with UK's Net Zero Strategy and Attracts Investment
The UK government's strategy for achieving net zero emissions by 2050 includes significant investment in clean energy technologies, including hydrogen production.
One promising approach to hydrogen production involves using waste plastics as a feedstock. Scotland, with its abundant supply of waste plastics and strong commitment to renewable energy, is poised to play a leading role in this innovative approach.
The Scottish government has set ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy. This strategy will help to accelerate the development and deployment of this promising technology, which has the potential to make a significant contribution to Scotland's net zero goals.
Hydrogen is widely recognised as a potential solution to many of the world's energy and environmental challenges. It is a clean and versatile energy carrier that can be produced from a variety of sources, including waste plastics. The use of hydrogen as a source of energy has become increasingly popular in recent years, as it offers several benefits over traditional fossil fuels. One of the main advantages of using hydrogen as a source of energy is that it produces no harmful emissions when burned. This means that it does not contribute to air pollution or climate change, which is a significant problem facing the world today.
By using hydrogen as a source of energy, we can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and move towards a cleaner and more sustainable future. Producing hydrogen from waste plastics is an innovative and sustainable way to generate this valuable energy carrier. It involves a process called pyrolysis, in which waste plastics are heated in the absence of oxygen to produce a mixture of gases, including hydrogen. This process not only generates hydrogen but also helps to reduce the amount of waste plastics that end up in landfills or polluting the environment.
In addition to the environmental benefits of producing hydrogen from waste plastics, there are also economic advantages. Waste plastics are a low-cost and abundant source of feedstock for the production of hydrogen, making it a cost-effective alternative to traditional fossil fuels. This can help to reduce the cost of energy production and increase the competitiveness of industries that use hydrogen as a source of energy. Furthermore, the use of hydrogen as a source of energy has the potential to revolutionise many industries, including transportation, power generation, and chemical production. For example, fuel cell vehicles powered by hydrogen offer a cleaner and more efficient alternative to traditional gasoline and diesel engines. Hydrogen-powered fuel cells can also be used to generate electricity for homes and businesses, providing a reliable and sustainable source of power.
In conclusion, the use of hydrogen as a source of energy offers numerous benefits over traditional fossil fuels, including reduced emissions, cost-effectiveness, and versatility. Producing hydrogen from waste plastics is an innovative and sustainable way to generate this valuable energy carrier, which can help to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and move towards a cleaner and more sustainable future. It is clear that the development and adoption of hydrogen as a source of energy will play an increasingly important role in addressing the world's energy and environmental challenges.
University of Aberdeen