Dr Ken Latham

Dr Ken Latham

Research Associate

School of Environmental and Life Sciences

Career Summary

Biography

I completed my PhD in 2016 examining how nitrogen influence the hydrothermal carbonization of sucrose and applying these materials to energy storage (supercapacitors). In this work I developed advanced characterization methods for examining carbon materials via synchrotron based NEXAFS and 13C Solid State NMR. In 2017 I moved to Umeå University in Sweden to work as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on a project examining thermochemical conversion processes to convert organosolv lignin into materials for selective pharmaceutical removal from waste water. During this time I was awarded a Mobility Fellowship from the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning in 2018 and a Marie Currie Individual Fellowship in 2019. These projects were to work on converting low value materials, such as sludge or lignin, into supercapacitors, sodium ion hybrid capacitors and flexible capacitors.

I have a special interest in the conversion of low value waste materials into high value products, especially in the field of energy storage. My expertise in this field has seen pulp and paper mill waste converted into hybrid capacitors, anaerobic digestate converted into supercapacitors and dairy residues transformed into wastewater treatment materials.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Science (Chemistry), University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours), University of Newcastle

Keywords

  • Hydrothermal Conversion
  • Supercapacitors
  • Sustainable Carbon Materials
  • Thermochemical Conversion
  • Waste Recycling

Languages

  • English (Mother)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
030306 Synthesis of Materials 40
030606 Structural Chemistry and Spectroscopy 30
030604 Electrochemistry 30

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Casual Academic University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Australia

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
20/11/2017 - 27/2/2020 Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Worked on the FORMAS funded project INFORMAT examining how organosolv lignin could be thermochemically converted into carbon materials for pharmaceutical removal from waste water.

Umeå University
Chemical Biological Center (KBC)
Sweden
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (10 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2020 Niinipuu M, Latham KG, Boily JF, Bergknut M, Jansson S, 'The impact of hydrothermal carbonization on the surface functionalities of wet waste materials for water treatment applications', Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 27 24369-24379 (2020)

© 2020, The Author(s). Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) is an energy-efficient thermochemical process for converting wet waste products into value added materials for water treatm... [more]

© 2020, The Author(s). Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) is an energy-efficient thermochemical process for converting wet waste products into value added materials for water treatment. Understanding how HTC influences the physicochemical properties of the resultant materials is critical in optimizing the process for water treatment, where surface functionality and surface area play a major role. In this study, we have examined the HTC of four wet waste streams, sewage sludge, biosludge, fiber sludge, and horse manure at three different temperatures (180¿°C, 220¿°C, and 260¿°C). The physicochemical properties of these materials were examined via FTIR, SEM and BET with their adsorption capacity were assessed using methylene blue. The yield of solid material after hydrothermal carbonization (hydrochar) decreased with increasing temperature for all samples, with the largest impact on horse manure and fiber sludge. These materials also lost the highest degree of oxygen, while HTC had minimal impact on biosludge and sewage sludge. The differences here were due to the varying compositions of each waste material, FTIR identified resonances related to cellulose in horse manure and fiber sludge, which were not detected in biosludge and sewage sludge. Adsorption capacities varied between 9.0 and 68¿mg¿g-1 with biosludge HTC at 220¿°C adsorbing the highest amount. Adsorption also dropped drastically at the highest temperature (260¿°C), indicating a correlation between adsorption capacity and HTC conditions. This was attributed to the loss of oxygen functional groups, which can contribute to adsorption. These results suggest that adsorption properties can be tailored both by selection of HTC temperature and feedstock.

DOI 10.1007/s11356-020-08591-w
Citations Scopus - 1
2020 Niinipuu M, Latham KG, Jansson S, 'The influence of inorganic components and carbon-oxygen surface functionalities in activated hydrothermally carbonized waste materials for water treatment', Environmental Science and Pollution Research, (2020)

© 2020, The Author(s). In this study, we have examined how the activation of hydrothermally carbonized sewage sludge and horse manure influences the inorganic component of these m... [more]

© 2020, The Author(s). In this study, we have examined how the activation of hydrothermally carbonized sewage sludge and horse manure influences the inorganic component of these materials and surface chemistry. This was examined through statistical correlations between kinetic tests using trimethoprim, fluconazole, perfluorooctanoic acid, and copper, zinc, and arsenic and physicochemical properties. Yield and inorganic content varied considerably, with potassium hydroxide¿activated materials producing lower yields with higher inorganic content. Phosphoric acid activation incorporated inorganically bound phosphorus into the material, although this showed no statistically relevant benefit. A maximum surface area of 1363¿m2g-1 and 343¿m2g-1 was achieved for the horse manure and sewage sludge. Statistical analysis found positive correlations between carbon-oxygen functionalities and trimethoprim, fluconazole, perfluorooctanoic acid, and copper removal, while inorganic content was negatively correlated. Conversely, arsenic removal was positively correlated with inorganic content. This research provides insight into the interactions with the organic/inorganic fraction of activated waste materials for water treatment.

DOI 10.1007/s11356-020-09839-1
2019 Latham KG, Ferguson A, Donne SW, 'Influence of ammonium salts and temperature on the yield, morphology and chemical structure of hydrothermally carbonized saccharides', SN APPLIED SCIENCES, 1 (2019) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s42452-018-0055-2
Citations Web of Science - 3
Co-authors Scott Donne
2019 Kozyatnyk I, Latham KG, Jansson S, 'Valorization of Humic Acids by Hydrothermal Conversion into Carbonaceous Materials: Physical and Functional Properties', ACS SUSTAINABLE CHEMISTRY & ENGINEERING, 7 2585-2592 (2019)
DOI 10.1021/acssuschemeng.8b05614
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3
2018 Latham KG, Dose WM, Allen JA, Donne SW, 'Nitrogen doped heat treated and activated hydrothermal carbon: NEXAFS examination of the carbon surface at different temperatures', CARBON, 128 179-190 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.carbon.2017.11.072
Citations Scopus - 13Web of Science - 13
Co-authors J Allen, Scott Donne
2018 Latham KG, Donne SW, 'Nitrogen Doped Heat-Treated and Activated Hydrothermal Carbon: Examination of Electrochemical Performance Using Step Potential Electrochemical Spectroscopy', JOURNAL OF THE ELECTROCHEMICAL SOCIETY, 165 A2840-A2848 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.1149/2.0811811jes
Citations Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4
Co-authors Scott Donne
2017 Latham KG, Simone M, Dose WM, Allen JA, Donne SW, 'Synchrotron based NEXAFS study on nitrogen doped hydrothermal carbon: Insights into surface functionalities and formation mechanisms', Carbon, 114 566-578 (2017) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.carbon.2016.12.057
Citations Scopus - 26Web of Science - 23
Co-authors Michela Simone, Scott Donne, J Allen
2017 Gibson AJ, Latham KG, Burns RC, Donne SW, 'Electrodeposition Mechanism of Cathodically-Prepared Manganese dioxide Thin Films from Permanganate for use in Electrochemical Capacitors', ELECTROCHIMICA ACTA, 236 198-211 (2017) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.electacta.2017.03.014
Citations Scopus - 6Web of Science - 4
Co-authors Scott Donne
2016 Latham KG, Rawal A, Hook JM, Donne SW, 'Molecular structures driving pseudo-capacitance in hydrothermal nanostructured carbons', RSC Advances, 6 12964-12976 (2016) [C1]

© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2016. The incorporation of nitrogen into hydrothermal carbon with (NH4)2SO4 is shown to have a significant influence on its chemical composition a... [more]

© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2016. The incorporation of nitrogen into hydrothermal carbon with (NH4)2SO4 is shown to have a significant influence on its chemical composition and surface characteristics. This in turn boosts the pseudo-capacitive behavior of hydrothermal carbons and their overall electrochemical stability. A combination of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy (FTIR) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), yielded insights on the influence of nitrogen doping on surface functionalities. 1- and 2-D solid state NMR established the molecular-level structure of both doped and non-doped hydrothermal carbon. Cyclic voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy has established the electrochemical behaviour of these hydrothermal carbons, indicating that nitrogen doping enhances not only the capacitance but also the stability of the hydrothermal carbons.

DOI 10.1039/c5ra26136h
Citations Scopus - 15Web of Science - 16
Co-authors Scott Donne
2014 Latham KG, Jambu G, Joseph SD, Donne SW, 'Nitrogen doping of hydrochars produced hydrothermal treatment of sucrose in H

In this work, we have focused on the effect of highly acidic (0.2 M H 2SO4), neutral (H2O), and basic (0.2 M NaOH) solutions with and without the addition of 0.2 M (NH4) 2SO4 on t... [more]

In this work, we have focused on the effect of highly acidic (0.2 M H 2SO4), neutral (H2O), and basic (0.2 M NaOH) solutions with and without the addition of 0.2 M (NH4) 2SO4 on the chemical and structural morphologies of hydrothermally formed carbon spheres (hydrochar) from sucrose at 200°C for 4 h. Hydrolysis product yields without the addition of (NH4) 2SO4 varied considerably (11.34 wt % H2SO 4, 47.81 wt % H2O, and 3.54 wt % NaOH) as did spherical size (3.34, 4.57, and 6.63 nm for H2SO4, H2O, and NaOH, respectively). The addition of (NH4)2SO 4 increased product yields considerably in acidic and basic conditions (27.76 wt % H2SO4 and 14.73 wt % NaOH). Chemically, the hydrochars had a carbon content between 60 and 70 wt % and oxygen content between 22% and 29% with alcohol groups (12.29, 15.44, 11.26 atom % for H2SO4, H2O and NaOH respectively) the main oxygen functionality, although carbonyls, carboxylic acids, and ketones were also present. These oxygen functionalities fluctuated with the presence of (NH4)2SO4, with reductions in alcohols (1-3 atom %) and ketones (1-3 atom %), and increases in carboxylic acids. Nitrogen was located in pyridinic, pyrrolyic, and quaternary groups (6.24, 3.22, and 9.41 atom % for H2SO4, H2O, and NaOH, respectively). GC-MS revealed that levulinic acid was the predominate byproduct. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

DOI 10.1021/sc4004339
Citations Scopus - 43Web of Science - 42
Co-authors Scott Donne
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 4
Total funding $924,945

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


Highlighted grants and funding

Flexible Hybrid Sodium Ion Capacitors from Renewable Electrospun Lignin: Device Manufacture, Performance Testing and Solid Electrolyte Layer Investigations$363,469

This project aims to develop a sustainable, flexible, Hybrid Sodium Ion Capacitor (HIC) to support the rapid development of flexible/wearable electronics and sodium ion energy storage technology. I will achieve this by integrating a flexible hard carbon battery-style anode and a flexible porous carbon supercapacitor-style cathode, electrospun from renewable lignin, into a single energy storage device. Thus, this device will deliver higher energy density than flexible supercapacitors, while maintaining high cyclability and power density. I will extensively examine the fundamentals (solid interface layer, cathodic interlayer) of using Na ions for HIC, gaining a further understanding of the mechanisms underpinning these devices. Na has been selected as the target ion to counter the limited supply and geo-political issues surrounding the distribution of Li.

Funding body: ERC European Research Council

Funding body ERC European Research Council
Project Team

Kenneth G. Latham, Magda Titirici, Agnieszka Brandt-Talbot

Scheme Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions - Individual Fellowship
Role Lead
Funding Start 2020
Funding Finish 2023
GNo
Type Of Funding International - Competitive
Category 3IFA
UON N

Can pulp and paper mill waste be a valuable resource? Synthesizing Energy Storage Materials from Pulp and Paper Mill Waste?$437,920

The project seeks to examine thermochemical methods for converting pulp and paper mill waste into energy storage materials.

Funding body: FORMAS

Funding body FORMAS
Project Team

Kenneth Latham

Scheme Mobility grants for early-career researchers
Role Lead
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2022
GNo
Type Of Funding International - Competitive
Category 3IFA
UON N

20201 grants / $363,469

Flexible Hybrid Sodium Ion Capacitors from Renewable Electrospun Lignin: Device Manufacture, Performance Testing and Solid Electrolyte Layer Investigations$363,469

This project aims to develop a sustainable, flexible, Hybrid Sodium Ion Capacitor (HIC) to support the rapid development of flexible/wearable electronics and sodium ion energy storage technology. I will achieve this by integrating a flexible hard carbon battery-style anode and a flexible porous carbon supercapacitor-style cathode, electrospun from renewable lignin, into a single energy storage device. Thus, this device will deliver higher energy density than flexible supercapacitors, while maintaining high cyclability and power density. I will extensively examine the fundamentals (solid interface layer, cathodic interlayer) of using Na ions for HIC, gaining a further understanding of the mechanisms underpinning these devices. Na has been selected as the target ion to counter the limited supply and geo-political issues surrounding the distribution of Li.

Funding body: ERC European Research Council

Funding body ERC European Research Council
Project Team

Kenneth G. Latham, Magda Titirici, Agnieszka Brandt-Talbot

Scheme Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions - Individual Fellowship
Role Lead
Funding Start 2020
Funding Finish 2023
GNo
Type Of Funding International - Competitive
Category 3IFA
UON N

20192 grants / $537,234

Can pulp and paper mill waste be a valuable resource? Synthesizing Energy Storage Materials from Pulp and Paper Mill Waste?$437,920

The project seeks to examine thermochemical methods for converting pulp and paper mill waste into energy storage materials.

Funding body: FORMAS

Funding body FORMAS
Project Team

Kenneth Latham

Scheme Mobility grants for early-career researchers
Role Lead
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2022
GNo
Type Of Funding International - Competitive
Category 3IFA
UON N

Valorization of pulp and paper mill ashes and sludge by a two-step treatment approach – A feasibility study$99,314

Funding body: Bio4Energy

Funding body Bio4Energy
Project Team

Eleonora Borén, Kenneth G. Latham, Dalia Abdelfattah, Venkata Kumar Krishna Upadhyayula, Magnus Rudolfsson, Gunnar Westin

Scheme Research Projects
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2020
GNo
Type Of Funding International - Competitive
Category 3IFA
UON N

20181 grants / $24,242

Why incinerate the waste, when we can upgrade it? Synthesizing Energy Storage Materials from Biosludge.$24,242

Conversion of biosludge from pulp and paper mill waste into energy storage materials.

Funding body: J. Gust. Richert stiftelse Foundation

Funding body J. Gust. Richert stiftelse Foundation
Project Team

Kenneth Latham

Scheme Research Funding
Role Lead
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding International - Competitive
Category 3IFA
UON N
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Research Projects

Can pulp and paper mill waste be a valuable resource? Synthesizing Energy Storage Materials from Pulp and Paper Mill Waste? 2019 -


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Dr Ken Latham

Positions

Research Associate
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science

Casual Academic
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science

Contact Details

Email ken.latham@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4033 9356
Link Research Networks

Office

Room NIERC-115
Building NIER C Block
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