Dr Dawid Hanak has been with us since 2013 when he received his MSc degree in Carbon Capture and Transport and in 2016 he received his PhD degree in Carbon Capture Systems Engineering. He is now a lecturer in Combustion, Carbon Capture and Storage. Find out more in the interview below.

What attracted you to Cranfield?

I chose Cranfield because of its recognition among both academic and industrial networks. I believe that strong industrial collaboration is essential to drive academic research. Moreover, having completed an MSc and PhD at Cranfield University, I really appreciate its distinctive, multinational community. I found working in such environment highly rewarding and stimulating.

What are your areas of interest in the Energy sector?

My primary areas of interest are high-efficiency, low-emission power generation systems and industrial processes, CO2 capture technologies, fuel cells, conventional and alternative fuels, and sustainable energy systems.

What is your research background?

Energy is an important aspect of our lives – we use it extensively every day. The challenge is that the current energy market is still highly dependent on fossil fuels, the combustion of which contributes to the deterioration of our environment. To mitigate climate change, a number of technologies are being developed for the decarbonisation of the energy sector. Carbon capture and storage (CCS), which so far has been the main area of my research, has been identified as key to achieving our 2050 CO2 emission reduction targets. It is a chain of processes that aims to decarbonise the fossil fuel power generation and industrial processes. As a result, the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere is avoided. Captured CO2 can be utilised, for example, for the production of a number of chemicals and for enhanced oil recovery. CO2 can also be stored in a safe manner for a long period of time. However, the main challenges associated with the mature CCS technologies are high energy intensity and high capital costs. My research focuses on the reduction of the energy and economic penalties associated with these technologies by exploring emerging processes and more efficient integration strategies.

What current research projects are you involved in?

At the moment I am leading the process modelling activities in a portfolio of research and industrial projects, from an EPSRC project related to redefining power generation from carbonaceous fuels with carbonate looping combustion and gasification technologies, to working on the Innovate UK BEN project, to supporting the University's flagship Nano Membrane Toilet project.

What are your plans for future research?

The primary goal of my career is to contribute towards decarbonisation of the energy and industrial sectors. Therefore, in the short term, I intend to continue working in the area of high-efficiency low-emission power generation systems that will utilise both fossil fuels and alternative fuels. In the long term, I would like to focus more on alternative fuels, fuel cells and sustainable energy systems for both industrial and domestic applications. I also recognise that commercialisation and deployment of such systems require a direct contribution of the research beneficiaries. Therefore, in the long term, I would like to establish a research network that would enable the beneficiaries to provide their insight into my research.

What courses do you teach?

I teach and support the practical sessions on a number of MSc modules, covering topics such as business simulation, process modelling, and risk and reliability.

What elements of teaching do you most enjoy?

I enjoy the practical workshops as students get the opportunity to gain experience via the ‘learning by doing’ approach. Not only do I get to interact directly with my students, but it also gives me a clear indication of their progress, which is highly rewarding. It also allows me to tailor the session to a particular cohort.

How have you found Cranfield so far?   

I have found Cranfield to be an exceptional place that has helped me in both personal and professional development. The support available will definitely help me in achieving my career goals. This includes access to a wide range of services (including the Research and Innovation Centre), the availability of research students and staff, as well as providing continuous professional development training. Moreover, working in a multi-cultural community of staff and students, and being encouraged to take on independent research, has allowed me to become a well-rounded professional in the energy field.