Advanced Materials Research Group

Image of Ed Lester

Ed Lester

The Lady Trent Professor of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering



Professor Ed Lester is part of the Advanced Materials Research Group.

Expertise Summary

Ed started out as Marine Chemist as an undergraduate before taking on a PhD in Chemical Engineering. Since then he has been busy working at the interface between chemistry and engineering.

His PhD focussed on the use of image analysis to characterise fuels and predict their combustion performance. These techniques are still used by power generators around the world to inform procurement decisions as well as forensic analysis of boiler issues.

Ed successfully used novel image analysis techniques to solve a key issue that had hampered the development of continuous supercritical fluid reactors. This breakthrough led to the development of new reactor designs and various patent filings. Promethean Particles Ltd was formed at the end of 2007 to exploit this new intellectual property and the company now operates the worlds largest continuous supercritical water system for the production of nanomaterials. The company makes and sells nanomaterials to clients around the world, from Japan to USA.

He founded Promethean Particles at the end of 2007

Teaching Summary

Interfacial Chemistry to 2nd year Chemical Engineers - which explains how heterogeneous catalysts work, how they are made and how they are designed for industrial use

Renewable Energy from Waste to 4th years and MSc,PhD level students. - which details the energy issues facing the 21st century, the methods of energy generation from combustion technologies, life cycle assessment, the move towards renewable fuels and the role of waste materials in meeting current and future energy needs.

Ed also contributes to Introduction to Green Chemistry and Processing

Research Summary

Ed has been working with supercritical fluids for over 20 years with a particular focus on supercritical water reactor design. His background in image analysis techniques helped to solve the blockage… read more

Recent Publications

Current Research

Ed has been working with supercritical fluids for over 20 years with a particular focus on supercritical water reactor design. His background in image analysis techniques helped to solve the blockage problems that occur during continuous hydrothermal synthesis. This process involved the instantaneous mixing of a cold aqueous metal salt with a superheated water stream. The final solution came in the form of a pipe in pipe counter current reactor which is now patented. He is Technical Director of a new spin out company from the University of Nottingham called Promethean Particles Ltd.

Ed has used nanomaterials (produced from solvothermal or hydrothermal synthesis) in many different applications. Research is ongoing in areas as diverse as 3D printing, enhanced fabrics, water remediation, gas capture and storage, artificial bone and biomedical implants, metal organic frameworks, printed electronics and surface coatings that resist microbial/viral contamination.

His original work on power generation and fuel combustion is still ongoing with new projects on biomass/coal blend co-firing, coking, oxyfuel technology, spontaneous combustion and characterisation of carbonaceous materials .

The overlapping research between these two research fields is the emerging interest in chemicals and energy from biomass waste, either through gasification, supercritical water oxidation, hydrothermal extraction or thermal upgrading.

Future Research

I welcome inquiries from potential PhD candidates from Home, EU and international countries who are interested in the following research areas: supercritical fluids, supercritical water reactor design, nanoparticle synthesis and applications, scaling up, fuel characterisation, biomass and fossil fuel energy

Advanced Materials Research Group

Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD