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Dr Binjian Nie highly commended for clean energy research

Department Lecturer in Chemical Engineering is recognised by the Institute of Chemical Engineers

Dr Binjian Nie has been Highly Commended for the prestigious Nicklin Medal 2022 by the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). The Nicklin Medal is an early careers award for the chemical engineers who have no more than ten years postgraduate research experience and should have produced international quality research output.

Dr Nie is a Departmental Lecturer in Chemical Engineering at the Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford. Nie's main research focus is on de-carbonising cooling and heating, his work with industry on thermal energy storage-based vehicle air conditioning has delivered 6 prototypes which are to be tested on the demonstration train. The passive cooling rail/road container technology generated from his collaborative work with industry has been commercialised. The Multi-Award-Winning 45ft passive cooling rail/road container technology has completed commercial trials carrying real goods for 400,000 kilometres of road and 6,000 kilometres of rail transport across different climate zones.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the containers have delivered more than 400 tons of fresh food and flowers to the vulnerable people affected by the crisis. The practical operation showed that this kind of technology which is feasible to be integrated the renewable energy can significantly decrease the energy utilization and cost by 80% as well as reduce the emission by 70% compared to the current diesel-powered ones.

This is a positive response to the UK government’s Road to Zero Strategy as well as the UN’s global climate change targets, Dr Nie said.

Currently, Nie is collaborating with the British Antarctic Survey on the Ice core delivery from Antarctica for climate change research in Cambridge. He is also working with partners in the low-income countries, particularly in sub-Sarah Africa, on the clean cold chain which is for the urgent food storage at the farm of marginal/small-scale farmers. The technology will also help women in rural areas to cope with today’s disaster. It also can contribute to women’s financial independence who live in rural areas and are often doubly affected by discrimination.

The nominator said, "Dr Nie has been doing multidisciplinary research in the areas of energy materials, thermal energy storage technology, clean cooling and chemical process engineering, as well as showing engineering excellence which is making a real-world contribution to emission reduction, environmental improvements and poverty eradication, as well as ensuring the global response to the current pandemic in green and sustainable"

Nie was also a member of the research team who received the Outstanding Achievement, Energy, and Research Project Award at the IChemE 2019 Global Awards in his previous post at the Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage, University of Birmingham in collaboration with Jinhe Energy.