Dr. Yong Wai Fen & Chemical Engineering Postgraduate Students Publish in Journal of Cleaner Production


The Research and Postgraduate Centre congratulates Xia Wenhao, Lau Siew Kei, and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yong Wai Fen from XMUM School of Energy and Chemical Engineering for the recent article published in Journal of Cleaner Production, an SCI tier-1 journal with the latest impact factor of 11.072.

Xia Wenhao and Lau Siew Kei are both Class of 2021 graduates of Chemical Engineering Programme. Currently, Xia Wenhao is furthering his master’s at Xiamen University in China, while Siew Kei is a master’s student under the supervision of Dr. Yong Wai Fen, the corresponding author of this article.

This research is funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Xiamen University Malaysia Research Fund, and Hengyuan International Sdn. Bhd. 

The paper is entitled “Comparative life cycle assessment on zeolitic imidazolate framework-8 (ZIF-8) production for CO2 capture”. Among the synthesized metal-organic frameworks, ZIF-8 is promising for CO2 capture, raising the need for its sustainable production. The life cycle assessment (LCA) of various ZIF-8 synthesis methods such as solvothermal (DMF), solvothermal (MeOH), microwave, sonochemical, mechanochemical, dry-gel conversion and aqueous system was investigated. The findings indicated that the seven production methods have the highest impact on marine ecotoxicity, followed by human non-carcinogenic toxicity, and terrestrial ecotoxicity among the 18 categories of evaluation studies. The main contributor towards environmental degradation was the solvent for washing, N, N-dimethylformamide (DMF) in most of the methods. It is also revealed that replacing the solvent of DMF with methanol remarkably reduced the influence on human health, ecosystem and resources in the solvothermal (MeOH) method as compared to the solvothermal (DMF) method. As a whole, the mechanochemical method has the least impact on the environment because it has fewer production steps and is easy to operate. Therefore, this work delineates comprehensive environmental influences of different ZIF-8 synthesis methods to lay the groundwork for its mass and sustainable production. 


The article can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.133354  


Graphical abstract of the review paper


Xia Wenhao: “A lot of research on carbon capture technology has been done but sometimes the environmental impacts of the technology are ignored. Thus, we started this research work to address the issue. I would like to thank my peer Siew Kei, who has spent a lot of time reviewing and editing the article, and my supervisor Dr. Yong Wai Fen, not only for her guidance but also because I have gained a lot in the research process, which will be very helpful in the future.”



Lau Siew Kei: “It has been a rewarding experience for publishing this article. Due to the ever-increasing carbon emission, a sustainable solution such as the use of MOFs is required to combat this global issue and its consequences. I would like to thank my peer Wenhao for his contribution and support in accomplishing this work, and my supervisor Dr. Yong Wai Fen for providing me with this opportunity to expand my knowledge. Through this work, I have sharpened my analytical thinking and writing skills, which will be crucial in my postgraduate studies.”


Dr. Yong Wai Fen is an Associate Professor and the Head of Program (Master of Science and PhD in Chemical Engineering) at School of Energy and Chemical Engineering, Xiamen University Malaysia. With a PhD degree from the National University of Singapore, her research interests include sustainable materials and membrane technologies for CO2 capture, biogas separation, industrial air purification, and water purification. She is also a Chartered Engineer under the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), UK. She has won several prestigious awards including the Green Talents Award in 2016, Top 50 outstanding Green Talents alumni from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and the Finalist of the Energy and Sustainability Awards from the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Singapore.

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