Dr. Xue Han from School of Chemistry, University of Manchester talks about her project and the net zero research they are undertaking.
Currently, space heating using gas boilers and cooling using electric air-conditioner account for more than 20% of UK’s carbon emission. The aim of my research is, instead of burning fossil fuels or totally relying on electricity, to exploit low grade thermal energy to realise heating and cooling. These energies are readily available as solar and geothermal energies or can be obtained from the waste heat of various industries, so they are sustainable and free. The technology is based on the phenomenon of adsorption-driven heat-transfer, which uses water as working fluid, and a porous sorbent material to cycle the adsorption and desorption of water. I am currently working on developing advanced porous materials such as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) for this application. With the success in obtaining MOFs that are of high stability, high water uptake and can be regenerated at low temperatures, this research will make great contribution to decarbonization of heating and cooling.