Spotlight Feature – Swathi Mukundan
Department of Chemical Engineering, Loughborough University
I am an experimentalist with a background in Chemistry. At Loughborough University, my research is focussed on exploring different technologies to extract chemicals from ‘non-recyclable’ biomass and chemical waste mixtures. I particularly investigate the hydrothermal liquefaction process to convert mixed wastes into energy-dense bio-oil which can be further converted into olefins, which is the building block of the chemical industry. I also explore utilising magnetically separable bifunctional catalysts to improve the carbon extraction into the bio-oil phase. I am interested in investigating pre-treatment methods for mixed wastes, which can lower the activation energy needed for bond cleavage during hydrothermal liquefaction.
Recently, I have been working with policymakers by transferring technical knowledge on different recycling technologies to treat the residual waste sludges.