Chemical engineering is a branch of engineering that deals with the extraction and production of products through chemical processes. Using the knowledge of physics, mathematics, chemistry, economics, and biology, chemical engineers transform natural RAW materials into valuable products. So today, we will discuss the top 10 best chemical engineering project ideas to help you try some innovation in the chemical engineering field.
Chemical engineering is a four-five year degree course after the completion of which students work in the related fields. To get the degree, one needs to submit at least one project in the last year. After completion of their course, chemical engineers primarily work inside a laboratory or an industry. To get an excellent job in those places, one needs to have a good resume which comes from having good grades. So these chemical engineering project ideas will also help you build a base for your journey as an engineer.
1. Citric Acid From Molasses
Citric acid, also known as 2 -hydroxy -1,2,3- propane tricarboxylic acid (C6H8O7), is one of the widely used ingredients in food and pharmaceuticals. Karls Scheels first prepared it in the year 1874 from lemon juice through the method of fermentation. The increasing use of citric acid every year motivates researchers and chemical engineers to develop a cost-effective, more reliable approach for extracting it.
The process of fermentation is the most effective process for extracting citric acid from molasses in the presence of a fungus (Aspergillus ATCC 9142). Fermentation is the process of breaking down large compounds into smaller ones through catalysis. Instead of molasses, you can use other similar substrates like grape sugar, sweet potato, cane sugar, etc.
2. Energy Drink From Coconut
There are a lot of energy drinks available in the market. But from a health point of view, they are incredibly unwholesome. A large amount of sugar and unknown chemicals can cause various health-related issues, including diabetes. Therefore, it is essential to bring forth energy drinks prepared from natural processes and, along with giving energy, gives health benefits as well. As a chemical engineer, you can prepare energy drinks from coconut using your engineering knowledge.
As coconut water is a good source of potassium and iron and is fat-free, it is widely used as a sports drink. However, when exposed to air, it rapidly deteriorates its nutrient value which can be excused by storing the coconut water in refrigerators.
3. Utilization of Sludge Gasses
Sludge gasses are a mixture of harmful gasses that come out of the treatment of sewage and drains. Those harmful gasses contain a large proportion of methane which is a valuable by-product for generating energy in the form of electricity. Being highly combustible, renewable, and non-transportable, they can be used for the combustion of engines in electrical and mechanical power generation.
The electricity generated from this method can be used in the area where there is a shortage. The gasses rotate the turbine to generate electricity making the process cost-effective. Also, turbines are easy to install and operate.
4. Manufacture of Iodised Salt
Salt is an essential ingredient in our food. In India, about 62 lakh tonnes of salt is produced, out of which 59 lakh tons of salt go for human consumption. Iodized salt refers to table salt with a small amount of iodine present in them. The intake of a small amount of iodine is necessary for good health. The deficiency of iodine can cause various health problems, such as goiter. At a high temperature, iodine-containing salts can lose their iodine ingredient.
Many countries, including India, have people affected by iodine deficiency, seeing that many states have made salt compulsory in food. It resulted in the establishment of various salt iodization plants in private and public sector industries.
5. Bulk Thermoelectrics
The next best chemical engineering project idea is finding bulk thermoelectric materials. In most cases, almost two-thirds of energy is lost in the form of heat. If this energy could be saved, it could solve many energy shortage problems. Thermoelectrics are used in the regeneration of electricity from waste heat.
Bulk thermoelectrics is two-dimensional materials that tend to stop this leakage because of their properties like high Seebeck coefficient and low thermal conductivity. Some studies have proven superlattices a good bulk material because of being an excellent anisotropic.
6. Solar Paint
The future of solar energy is solar paint. The presence of many solar-sensitive cells in the paint traps the solar energy and converts it into electrical energy. It is said that the installation process of solar paint is as easy as home painting. If you know how to paint, then you will be able to install solar paint. Much research is going in the direction of making this thing come true. The most recent study shows that solar paint is not as effective as solar panels in terms of capturing solar energy. It can trap only 5% of the sun’s energy. On the other hand, silicon-used solar panels attained a new height by trapping 20% of the sun’s energy.
7. Conversion Of Waste Plastic Into Fuel
Plastic is non-biodegradable. Because of the regular increase in the production and use of plastic and not having a superior method to destroy it completely, the environment is in danger. Nevertheless, there is one method to bring waste plastic into use. And the method is converting plastic into fuel. The process of plastic conversion into solid, liquid, and gaseous fuel is called Pyrolysis.
The thermal degradation of plastic waste in the absence of oxygen at a temperature between 300 to 900 degrees Celsius in order to produce liquid oil is called pyrolysis. Many catalysts are used to improve the process, including HZSM -5, MCM-41, FCC, Y-zeolite, etc.
8. Electrochemical Energy Storage
Electrochemical energy storage means the secondary batteries that convert the chemical energy stored in them to electrical energy. Batteries are made in various sizes, from supplying watts to hundreds of kilowatts. Commercially available batteries that can convert chemical energy to electrical energy can be divided into multiple groups standard batteries, modern batteries, high-temperature batteries, and flow batteries.
Standard batteries include Ni-Cd and lead acid batteries. Modern batteries include Ni-MH, Li-pol, and Li-ion batteries.
High-temperature batteries include Na-S and Na-metal chloride batteries. Flow batteries contain Vanadium Redox and Br2- Zn batteries.
9. Hydrogen Evolution via Water Splitting
Hydrogen can be an alternative source of energy because of being environmentally friendly and renewable. Many methods have evolved to produce hydrogen from various compounds like petroleum, coal, and water electrolysis. However, these processes are not as effective as they should be because of their high energy consumption and the evolution of carbon dioxide, which harms the environment. However, the generation of hydrogen via water splitting through the process of electrolysis is an effective method. Under these methods, water is split into H2 and O2.
10. Caffeine From Waste Coffee And Tea
Extracting caffeine from waste tea and coffee is the last in the top 10 best chemical engineering project ideas category. Caffeine is used in various drinks and has some medicinal uses also. Tea and coffee are rich in caffeine. Witnessing the increasing use of caffeine, it is vital to devise an effective strategy to reuse it. After the tea preparation, a large quantity of caffeine is still left in tea waste, which conventional hot water extraction methods can extract.
To Get You Going
Chemical engineering is a recognized field that covers a wide range of topics. However, selecting the right topic can be troublesome. Therefore, this article has discussed the top 10 best chemical engineering project ideas.
Cisco Ramon is an American software engineer who has experience in several popular and commercially successful programming languages and development tools. He has been writing content since last 5 years. He is a Senior Manager at Rude Labs Pvt. Ltd.