Final Year Undergraduate Publishes on Hazardous Gas Removal in SCI Tier 1 Journal as First Author

2021-06-03

Research Management Center congratulates final year undergraduate student Anupreetha Parthiban from Chemical Engineering Programme on publishing a review article entitled “Disposal methods, health effects and emission regulations for sulfur hexafluoride and its by-products” as the first author.

The review paper was published online on 14 May 2021 in the Journal of Hazardous Materials (latest Impact Factor: 9.038).

Dr. Chew Kit Wayne from School of Energy and Chemical Engineering is the review’s corresponding author. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Parthiban Siwayanan also co-authored the paper.

This work is a collaboration with Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) Research Sdn. Bhd., a research and development centre and in-house solution provider to TNB. Ir. Dr. Avinash Ashwin Raj Gopal from TNB Research Sdn. Bhd. served as the industrial supervisor for Anupreetha’s Final Year Project (FYP) and co-authored this review paper.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.126107

Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is the most potent greenhouse gas produced by the power and semiconductor industries. Its influence on the environment is 23,900 times greater than carbon dioxide. In the past decade, global emissions of SF6 have increased tremendously due to a lack of disposal routes. The need for emission control measures to reduce its impacts on climate change and global warming was highlighted in the Kyoto Protocol.

This work presents the novel non-thermal plasma techniques to decompose SF6 gas and ease its disposal. The main by-products of SF6’s decomposition are sulfur oxyfluorides, sulfur dioxide, hydrofluoric acid and fluorine gas, which can be treated via wet scrubbing method with appropriate chemical dosing. In view of SF6’s harmful environmental and health effects, modern disposal methods of SF6 gas and its by-products should be adopted in place of the conventional approaches. The paper also reviewed relevant government policies on the safety and disposal concern of SF6 gas as well as highlighted the challenges and future research directions for SF6 disposal.

The undergraduate student, Anupreetha, shares her first-time experience in writing and publishing:

I did my internship at TNB Research Sdn. Bhd., where I worked under the guidance of Ir. Dr. Avinash in a project related to the disposal of SF6 using microwave plasma. Due to my immense interest in the project, I was allowed to continue the project till completion through my Final Year Project (FYP) under the supervision of Dr. Chew. During the FYP period, we decided to publish a review paper on this research topic. The writing and reviewing process pushed me to analyze critically. I have gained an in-depth understanding on the project’s background and its future directions, which is very promising. Thanks for this eye-opening experience, I would like to work in the research field related to air pollution and its control in the future.”

 The figure shows SF6 gas life cycle with reference to the common technical standards.

 Dr. Chew addressed the significance of the work:

The review addresses the annual increase of SF6 emissions once it reaches its end-of-life stage due to the lack of disposal avenues and the high cost of available conventional disposal technologies. This issue hinders many countries from achieving their goals as stipulated in the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, alternative cost-and-energy-effective technologies with tremendous potential in disposing the gas and its toxic counterparts are highlighted to encourage investors and government initiatives to look in this direction. At the same time, the paper emphasized the life cycle of SF6, the current technical standards and government regulations.

I am proud to work with Anu and the team in investigating advance methods to mitigate the pollution caused by these hazardous gases.”

Dr. Chew Kit Wayne is now a Lecturer with the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering, XMUM. His current research involves chemical and biochemical engineering, sustainability, bioprocess engineering design and renewable energy. He has won several awards including the IChemE Global Award for Young Researcher, IChemE Malaysia Young Research Award and Rising Star Award for YSN-ASM.

He is an editorial board member of Bioengineered and The Open Microalgae Biotechnology Journal, an guest editor of Environmental Research, Journal of Hazardous Materials, Chemosphere, Biocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology, Bioengineered, Current Nutrition and Food Science, and Processes, and a review editor of Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, Frontiers in Energy Research and Frontiers in Environmental Chemistry.

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