Chemical Engineering Undergraduates Publishes in SCI Q1 Journal

2021-06-04

Research Management Center congratulates undergraduate students Foo Wei Han (first author) and Sherlyn Koay Sze Ning (co-author) from Chemical Engineering Programme, School of Energy and Chemical Engineering, on publishing a review article entitled “The Conundrum of Waste Cooking Oil: Transforming Hazard into Energy”.

With Dr. Chew Kit Wayne as the corresponding author, this work is a collaboration with University of Nottingham Malaysia.

The review paper was published online on 16 May 2021 in the Journal of Hazardous Materials (latest Impact Factor: 9.038).

The review article can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.126129.

Currently, rising energy demand due to industrialization and population growth has contributed to the decrease of fossilfuel reserves. As a result, alternative energy source produced by other materials, especially waste cooking oil (WCO), has become a notable solution for sustainable development. WCO, also known as “gutter oil”, refers to kitchen waste, gutters, animal fats, as well as reused cooking oil such as sunflower oil, olive oil, canola oil and other vegetable oils. Improper disposal of WCO can be hazardous to the environment by directly contaminating sea water and ground water. Human health will be affected if the waste oil is leached into the soil and pollutes the drinking water. If consumed, prolongedly heated cooking oil may also cause health problems.

This paper discussed the potentials of WCO as a green alternative energy source for electricity generation, hydrogen gas and biofuels production (e.g. biodiesel, biogas, biojet fuel) in depth. According to their research, blended WCO can be used as an auxiliary fuel for municipal solid waste incinerators while the heat produced will form superheated steam and generate electricity via combined heat and power system. WCO also contains a high ratio of hydrogen atoms,enabling it to be catalytically cracked to synthesize hydrogen gas. WCO-based biodiesel has been traditionally produced by transesterification to substitute petroleum-based diesel, which is non-degradableand non-renewable.

The undergraduate students, Foo and Sherlyn, shared their first-time experience in writing and publishing.

Foo Wei Han:

Besides learning the potential of hazardous WCO as an alternative energy source, the process of writing this review allowed me to enhance my time management and writing skills. It is my honor to publish this article under the supervision ofDr. Chew,who provided me with this great opportunity during my second year. I am proud to be guided by Dr. Chew and his team - they are all kind-hearted and willing to steer me throughout the writing process.

Sherlyn Koay Sze Ning:

I am very grateful to have this opportunity to learn from Dr. Chew and the team. I have gained a deeper understanding of WCO as analternative energy source. Throughout the whole process, I have also learned about how to write a review paper and how much effort it takes to publish a paper successfully. It has been a great experience to learn something different from the my major courses. I believe that everything I learned will definitely help in the future. On the whole, I am really honoured to be guided by and to work with the team!

Figure shows the municipal solid waste (MSW) combustion in combined heat and power (CHP) system.

Dr. Chew addressed the significance of the work:

WCO is considered one of the hazardous wastes, since its improper disposal severely harms the aquatic life. It is not advisable to reuse WCO for cooking as its toxic contents may cause cancer. Due to the high price of petroleum products, the decrease in fossil fuel reserves and the resulted atmospheric pollution, using WCO as an alternative energy source is an attractive solution.

By comparing recent works done with WCO, we were able to address the gap by discussing WCO as a source of various energies such as bioelectricity, hydrogen gas, biodiesel and biogas, as well as its treatment technologies, challenges and future perspectives. An analysis of government policies in managing WCO is discussed as well. We hope the information can contribute to future R&Ds in WCO management.

I am elated to work with Foo and Sherlyn, in compiling and validating information on WCO and its potential benefits for clean energy production.”

Dr. Chew (left) and his students, Sherlyn Koay Sze Ning (center) and Foo Wei Han (right).

Dr. Chew Kit Wayne is 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 serving as an editorial board member of Bioengineered and The Open Microalgae Biotechnology Journal, a 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.

Research

A Glance at XMUMC