Jennifer Spragg


I studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath, graduating with an MEng in 2014. I completed my undergraduate research project on hydrogels at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. My final year design project involved biogas upgrading for injection to the grid at Bristol sewage treatment works.
I have two years’ experience at a major oil & gas company, working on the engineering, design and operation of upstream oil & gas assets.
In my first year at the CDT, I have completed a research project on the pyrolysis-gasification of municipal solid waste, and a whole-systems study on the transition to alternative fuels in the European Union.

Research Interests

I chose to work in energy research because I am very interested in the interface between technology and society, and how we can ensure our technological solutions find a place in the low-carbon economy of the future. I am also interested in using chemical engineering fundamentals to research large-scale processes, for instance the scale-up of carbon capture and storage technologies and the optimisation of bio-refineries.
My PhD work is focussing on advanced reforming methods for the production of hydrogen, using bio-compounds as feedstock. Steam reforming is the main method of producing hydrogen on a large scale, but the processes are often large, fossil fuel-based and cause significant carbon emissions. Advanced reforming methods could enable more flexible, cheaper ways of producing low-carbon hydrogen. The use of biomass-based feedstock could further improve the environmental benefits of such a process.
My work will include process modelling of conventional steam reforming with carbon capture, as well as a modelling and experimental work on a novel process called sorption-enhanced chemical looping steam reforming (SE-CLSR).

Why I chose the CDT in Bioenergy

The multi-disciplinary nature of the CDT really appealed, as the exchange of knowledge between different disciplines is so key to tackling the challenges of climate change. This, together with the opportunity to explore different options in the first year, meant it was a good fit for me.
There is also the advantage that you get to do this alongside a year group and as part of the wider CDT community, meaning you have a fantastic support network for both technical and non-technical advice.

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