James Kwan

Research Interests

The path to a sustainable future requires alternative approaches to biorefinery, decarbonised fuel, and clean chemical valorisation. At present, the chemistry required to obtain these processes is costly and energy intensive, making industrial adoption difficult. My lab harnesses the power of sound to momentarily inertially confine chemicals within a collapsing bubble in order to generate a dense super-hot high-pressure near-singularity event, thereby creating a miasma of highly reactive chemical species in the presence of catalysts that enable biorefinery, chemical cracking, and advanced oxidation processes at near-ambient environmental conditions. Prospective DPhil students will advance the study of chemistry from sound (i.e., sonochemistry) by developing catalytic cavitation agents and sonochemical reactors for the synthesis of ammonia used as a clean fuel, ammonia cracking to produce clean hydrogen, methane activation to produce hydrogen and sequester carbon, and renewable sugar-to-fuel biorefinery. Specific details about a project will be defined during a discussion with the student, but most students will likely be expected to engineer aspects of a sonochemical reactor, synthesize nanoparticles and catalysts, and conduct conventional chemical analysis on reactant and product species.


Personal Research Keywords

Ultrasound, cavitation, catalysts, clean fuel, green chemistry, sonochemistry