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Introducing Brett Parkinson - SCI Scholar 2019

Brett Parkinson, SCI Scholar

25 July 2019

For over thirty years, SCI has supported and recognised the excellence of early career people, by aiding their studies in the form of an SCI Scholarship.

Since 1985 around 77 scholarships have been awarded which have not only given the recipients financial assistance, but have enabled them to broaden their network, and strengthen their skills and knowledge. SCI Scholars receive access to publishing and mentoring opportunities and are given a platform to present their work amongst esteemed scientists and industrialists, thus raising their profile within the scientific community.

In the past ten years alone, SCI has generously bequeathed over £115,000 of its charitable funds to SCI Scholars and the scientists of the future.

Brett Parkinson was awarded an SCI Scholarship in 2019. Here, he tells us about himself and his research project.

Brett Parkinson completed his Bachelors and Masters of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. He graduated with first class honours, the Chemical Engineering Program Prize for Highest GPA and the Andrew Nicholas Liveris Prize for Excellence and Leadership. Brett worked for Momentive Specialty Chemicals and Incitec Pivot Limited prior to a research-based role at the Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovations at the University of Queensland. At the Dow Centre, Brett’s work focussed on investigating blue-sky sustainability problems within the chemical industry and energy sectors. As part of this work, Brett led the development of novel process to produce low-carbon steel and petrochemicals through process coupling under Dr. Simon Smart, who received UQ Research Foundation Excellence Award for this project. His work later transitioned to low-CO2 utilization of natural gas through pyrolysis in molten metal/salt systems under Prof. Eric McFarland.

In 2017, Brett was the recipient of a Woodside John Monash Scholarship, Australia’s most prestigious postgraduate scholarship for overseas study which he has used to undertake his PhD at Imperial College London supervised by Prof. Klaus Hellgardt. His PhD focusses on methane pyrolysis in molten salt systems for zero-CO2 conversion of natural gas to hydrogen. The primary motivation of this work is to facilitate the use of existing fossil-resources and assets in a more sustainable manner to serve as a bridging technology to a more sustainable energy economy. The direct conversion of natural gas to hydrogen via pyrolysis is commercially practiced to produce high-value carbon products. The use of molten salt bubble column allows lower operating temperatures with a high selectivity to hydrogen, whilst facilitating continuous separation of the carbon by-product. Brett is passionate about energy sustainability and novel engineering process designs and has authored articles on the topics to both national newspapers in Australia and top academic journals.

Brett Parkinson
PhD Student
Imperial College London

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