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Final year undergraduate student Luke Hatton receives Salters’ Graduate Award

Awards are presented to ten candidates that demonstrate the ability to become leaders in the area of Chemistry or Chemical Engineering.

Luke Hatton, a final year student at the Department of Engineering Science, has been awarded one of the prestigious Salters’ Graduate Awards 2022 which are presented to ten candidates that demonstrate the ability to become leaders in the area of Chemistry or Chemical Engineering. Luke’s final year project entitled “Impact of Climate Change on the Production of Green Ammonia from Offshore Wind” was co-supervised by Sarah Sparrow (Oxford e-Research Centre) and René Bañares-Alcántara (OXGATE research group).

Green ammonia is a zero-carbon energy vector which can be produced solely from air, water and renewable energy. It could therefore be used to store excess renewable energy, and then used to generate clean energy when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing - either through direct combustion or ‘cracking’ to release the hydrogen it contains in a fuel cell.

The cost of green ammonia depends heavily on weather profiles (e.g. wind speed, solar irradiance), and modelling to estimate the cost of production typically draws upon historical data. However, climate change is likely to drastically change the weather patterns in the UK (and worldwide), so cost estimates from historical data may not be accurate enough for planning of future sites. This project evaluated the impact of different climate scenarios on the cost of producing green ammonia from offshore wind in the UK, using climate data from the programme in Oxford.

The four offshore sites that were examined were found to have resilience to the impacts of climate change, with the cost of production not changing significantly across the climate change scenarios.

Luke says, “I’m extremely honoured to have received the Graduate Award from the Salters Institute. The UK chemicals industry faces many significant challenges in the coming decades, from increased global competition, to potential skills shortages and the need to rapidly decarbonise without a clear path towards net zero emissions."

He adds, "I hope to use the opportunities available through this Award to help contribute towards the industry’s transition towards more sustainable operations. From October, I will be working at Element Energy (a low-carbon energy consultancy) in its Carbon Capture and Hydrogen Energy team, and will be returning to academia in 2023 to study for a PhD at Imperial College London on pathways for industrial decarbonisation. I’d like to thank my senior tutor, Professor René Bañares-Alcántara, for his support throughout the course of my degree and for nominating me for this award.”