Ashween Kaur Virdee PhD Student
School of Engineering & Physical Sciences, Institute of Mechanical, Process & Energy Engineering, Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton, UK
Office: DB 2.65
Ashween completed her MEng in Chemical Engineering with Energy Engineering from Heriot-Watt University in 2021, receiving a First-Class degree. Her final year research project focused on renewable energy storage using solid-state hydrogen storage technologies. She performed a techno-economic assessment on metal-hydride hydrogen storage technologies in a solar-powered microgrid. Her findings presented the key parameters that affect the economics of utilising hydrogen to store renewable energy in Scotland.
Her final year design project involved designing a plant that chemically recycles waste plastics using gasification to produce methanol and hydrogen. In this project, she carried out Monte Carlo simulations to produce an economic appraisal assessing the risks and uncertainties of the process. In her fourth year, she worked on a design project that assessed the feasibility of producing jet fuel using direct air carbon capture and the Fisher-Tropsch process. In this project, she analysed different chemical synthesis routes and simulated the plant on Aspen Plus.
Throughout her undergraduate degree, she carried out various summer internships in academia and industry. In 2020, Ashween was awarded the Lal Bursary to carry out a summer research project with Prof. Raffaella Ocone. The project involved analysing the ethical concerns behind human enhancement projects and how technology affects the role women play in society. In 2019, Ashween interned at a paint manufacturing company as an R&D Chemical Engineer where she evaluated various production lines to optimize production timings. In 2018, she interned at a chemical manufacturing company as a product developer, where she worked on formulating and testing products such as detergents, powder drinks and emulsifying concentrates. Additionally, she researched on improving the production processes with inherently safer plant designs.
Currently, Ashween is a research student (PhD) at the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS). Her research focuses on the large-scale production of solar fuels through catalytic conversion of CO2.
Ashween's main research interests are Photo-electrochemistry, CO2 Utilisation and Recycling, Hydrogen generation, Renewable energy systems, Sustainable processing.