Dr Ken Latham

Dr Ken Latham

Research Associate

School of Environmental and Life Sciences

Career Summary

Biography

Why waste the waste? This is the question that drives Dr. Ken Latham’s research on transforming waste into energy storage materials. After completing his PhD in 2016, Ken has applied the sustainable techniques he developed to convert waste from different industries during his postdoctoral research in Sweden. These included the forestry, mining, water treatment and dairy industries. This innovative work led to Ken being awarded a three year FORMAS mobility grant to investigate the conversion of pulp and paper mill waste to energy storage materials, collaborating with forestry companies and universities in Sweden, the UK and Australia.

His status as an emerging research leader in sustainable materials was further recognised in 2019 with the award of a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship at Imperial College in the UK. This project is designed to develop flexible batteries from wood materials for use in portable devices. Ken’s publication record is high impact, indicated by his 2021 paper that contaminated sludge can be upgraded to clean energy storage materials. Achieving almost 1 million dollars in grant funding, Ken is poised to make a significant impact in sustainable material research and energy storage technology.


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
340302 Macromolecular materials 100

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For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.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 (15 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2021 Davey SB, Cameron AP, Latham KG, Donne SW, 'Thermodynamic and kinetic examination of the glassy carbon electrode in neutral aqueous electrolytes', Journal of Power Sources Advances, 10 (2021)

Herein we report on the charge storage behaviour of a non-porous planar glassy carbon electrode (GCE) in an aqueous electrolyte of 0.5 M Na2SO4 at temperatures in the range 25 °C ... [more]

Herein we report on the charge storage behaviour of a non-porous planar glassy carbon electrode (GCE) in an aqueous electrolyte of 0.5 M Na2SO4 at temperatures in the range 25 °C to 50 °C. Preliminary cyclic voltammetry (CV) data indicate a decrease in electrode performance at increasing temperatures, and this was supported by detailed analysis of step potential electrochemical spectroscopy (SPECS) data. Kinetic analysis of the deconvoluted SPECS data using the Arrhenius equation has indicated that diffusional charge storage is not thermally activated, instead being possibly influenced by thermal scattering of electrolyte ions. Entropimetric analysis of the SPECS data has generated entropy and enthalpy data for charge storage in this system. These results are discussed in terms of charge storage at this interface.

DOI 10.1016/j.powera.2021.100062
Citations Scopus - 1
Co-authors Scott Donne
2021 Latham KG, Matsakas L, Figueira J, Rova U, Christakopoulos P, Jansson S, 'Examination of how variations in lignin properties from Kraft and organosolv extraction influence the physicochemical characteristics of hydrothermal carbon', Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis, 155 (2021) [C1]

Seven different lignin samples, three from Kraft extraction and four from organosolv extraction, were subjected to hydrothermal treatment at 260¿ for four hours to assess the impa... [more]

Seven different lignin samples, three from Kraft extraction and four from organosolv extraction, were subjected to hydrothermal treatment at 260¿ for four hours to assess the impact of lignin type on the physicochemical properties of the hydrothermal material. The 13C Solid state NMR, XPS, FTIR and SEM analysis revealed that the different sources of lignin and the extraction conditions created variations in the degree of syringyl and guaiacyl subunits, inter-unit bonding arrangements, morphology and surface composition. Hydrothermal carbonization appeared to ¿normalize¿ the differences between each of the lignin samples, via breaking ß-O-4 or a-O-4 linkages, removal of methoxy and syringyl subunits, and creation of C¿C and 4-O-5 linkages to polymerization into large 100-200 µm amorphous carbon particles. Overall, this study indicates that the source and extraction type have minimal influence on the physicochemical structure and morphology of the final hydrothermal product.

DOI 10.1016/j.jaap.2021.105095
2021 Davey SB, Cameron AP, Latham KG, Donne SW, 'Electrical double layer formation on glassy carbon in aqueous solution', Electrochimica Acta, 386 (2021) [C1]

Herein we report on the use of step potential electrochemical spectroscopy (SPECS) to characterize the dynamics of charge storage on a planar non-porous glassy carbon electrode in... [more]

Herein we report on the use of step potential electrochemical spectroscopy (SPECS) to characterize the dynamics of charge storage on a planar non-porous glassy carbon electrode in an aqueous electrolyte. Comparison between the spatial requirements of solvated electrolyte ions and the amount of charge added to the electrode surface implies that electrolyte charge storage is diffuse in nature, extending a substantial distance into the electrolyte, even for a concentrated electrolyte. This is contrary to the expected parallel planes of charge expected for double layer formation at the interface. The implications of this on the use of porous materials is also discussed.

DOI 10.1016/j.electacta.2021.138416
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Scott Donne
2021 Davey SB, Cameron AP, Latham KG, Donne SW, 'Combined step potential electrochemical spectroscopy and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy analysis of the glassy carbon electrode in an aqueous electrolyte', Electrochimica Acta, 396 (2021)

The nature of the electrified interface between a planar non-porous glassy carbon electrode and an aqueous electrolyte of 0.5 M Na2SO4 is examined using the combination of step po... [more]

The nature of the electrified interface between a planar non-porous glassy carbon electrode and an aqueous electrolyte of 0.5 M Na2SO4 is examined using the combination of step potential electrochemical spectroscopy (SPECS) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) across the full potential window of stability. This combination of techniques provides insight into the dynamics of interface formation (SPECS), as well as interfacial structure (EIS), highlighting the variation in capacitance across the potential window. EIS frequency also plays a significant role in determining capacitance via the role that it plays in determining ionic and dipole movement. High frequencies stimulate electron cloud movement, followed by dipole rotation and ionic movement as the frequency progressively decreases. Outcomes further highlight the role that mass transport has on the amount of charge storage at the interface.

DOI 10.1016/j.electacta.2021.139220
Co-authors Scott Donne
2020 Niinipuu M, Latham KG, Boily J-F, 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)
DOI 10.1007/s11356-020-08591-w
Citations Scopus - 8Web of Science - 7
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, 27 38072-38083 (2020)
DOI 10.1007/s11356-020-09839-1
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 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 Scopus - 8Web of Science - 9
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 - 4Web of Science - 4
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 - 21Web of Science - 22
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 - 6Web of Science - 7
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 - 41Web of Science - 42
Co-authors Michela Simone, J Allen, Scott Donne
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 - 8Web of Science - 7
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 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 tur... [more]

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 - 19Web of Science - 20
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 - 59Web of Science - 55
Co-authors Scott Donne
Latham KG, Forghani M, Dose WM, Allen JA, Donne SW, 'Influence of counter ions of ammonium for nitrogen doping and carbon properties in hydrothermal carbonization: characterization and supercapacitor performance', Materials Advances, 2 384-397
DOI 10.1039/d0ma00601g
Co-authors Scott Donne, J Allen
Show 12 more journal articles
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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
College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Casual Academic
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
College of Engineering, Science and Environment

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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