Hwa Chong Institution (High School)
Projects Competition 2015
Authentication :
We declare that the web-report is our own work and does not contain plagiarised material.
Upper Secondary
Engineering Science
12- 20
Project Title
[Adsorbed] Natural Gas
As non-renewable crude oils are being consumed, other kinds of energy sources are being introduced and promoted to the public, and natural gas is one of them. However, current technology is still limited. One of the biggest existing problems is that methane is inflammable and appears as a gas at room temperature. Thus, storage and transportation of methane is difficult to be done safely and efficiently.
Condensed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) are two most commonly used choices. However, a pressure of 20 MPa is needed for compression and liquefaction. Hence, a great amount of energy is lost and safety issues exist. In comparison, Adsorbed Natural Gas (ANG) is relatively safer, more efficient and energy-saving. Currently, activated carbon is commonly used. On the other hand, metal-organic framework (MOF) has emerged as a new option for gas adsorption. This webpage introduced a research which use the data obtained from our experiments and the Internet to find out the most applicable material for methane storage in terms of safety, cost and efficiency. The information and data in this website enables you to gain more depth into this field, and you are free to come to a conclusion on your own!
Link to Web-report page
Click HERE to access web-report
Link to Video page
Click HERE to access Video
Prof Anutosh (NTU)
Mr Eugene Chan(Hwa Chong Institution)
Team Leader/Members

(Name & Class)
Team Leader :

Though our project is quiet fruitful, it did not run smoothly in the process. We encountered a lot of problems. We managed to solve most of them, but also failed in some others. The first problem we had to solve is to completely understand our project, and decide on the way to approach it. This is not an easy job, because the focus of our project--Metal-Organic Framework(MOF) is a comparatively new material which requires advanced chemistry and physics knowledge to understand it structure and mechanism. Our mentor, Mr. Chan helped a lot in the process of understanding MOF. He made us do 4 relevant literature reviews, which requires us to do a lot of research job around MOF. In the end, by combining these literature reviews, we got a more comprehensive understanding of this project. Another strategy we deployed is to do another project about MOF. We took part in a competition called Chemistry Communication Challenge, and we chose MOF as our theme in the Finals. The researching process really boosted our understanding of MOF. These strategies are quiet successful, as we are so confident and fluent when answering judges’ questions about MOF because we do understand our project. Another major adversity we encountered is from the NTU side. Our project is a cooperative project with NTU, and we actually virtually did everything there. They provide us with equipment, laboratories and mentors. Everything we did have to be under the supervision of our external mentor, Mr. Sibnath Kayal. However, both ours and his agenda is quiet full, and we have to discuss a lot with our external mentor before we finally decided the timetable. The story didn’t ends here, the timetable is so complicated that it caused a lot of miscommunications and inconvenience for both of us. It took us a lot of time to reach there, and the amount of time wasted is of huge amount. The strategy we came up to solve this problem is very simple: always double check with our external mentor before we go there. The problem with NTU also include the apparatus we used. The construct and dismantle of the testing machine took a lot of time. The laboratory staff usually did it from morning to afternoon, and when we got there the process is either completed or haven’t begin. The laboratories are closed in weekends and public holidays, so the time rest for us to do the experiment is extremely limited. What is more, we cannot skip the construction and dismantle procedure because it can help us to gain more understanding of the testing process. We solved this problem by asking the laboratory staff to take picture and video for us, and we viewed it later to learn about the process. One of our key apparatus, the autoclave reactor is banned to use due to the new regulations in NTU, and we have to wait until late in July for the new autoclave reactor to arrive. Our strategy was to use the only dose of MOF to carefully carry out the testing procedure first to save time. Through all these strategies, in the end, we managed to finish our project before project finals and produce some results on our own, thus we can conclude that our strategies are quite useful. However, we could’ve done better, as we should communicate and express our ides more clearly with our mentor so that the misunderstandings could be avoided at the first place. We should’ve also got the timetable of our mentors and make decisions after detailed analyse. It only took a little amount of time compared to the time wasted on unproductive trips. On June holidays we should ideally also sacrifice some more part of our holiday so we can met at least one construction, tuning and dismantle of the testing machine. As a group leader I also encountered some adversities regarding leadership. I had difficulty motivating my groupmates to do work, and they did everything grudgingly. A lot of precious time is wasted on me chasing them to do their job, and they refusing to do it at that time. In some rare cases, they just refuse to do the job allocated to them. I feel that not every of my groupmates are fighting to make our projects better, but sometimes they are merely following my orders, grudgingly. My pathetic strategy to this is to do everything they don’t want to do by myself, or reallocate them to those who were willing to strive for greatness. This is a failed strategy, because it is unfair to those who really want to do something for our project, instead it benefitted those who refused to so their job. It also messed up my own timetable, as I have to do extra work. Next time I'll have to try something new, maybe adding more incentives instead of merely giving orders. In conclusion, we met and solved a lot of problems in this project. I gained a lot of experience about success and failure in the process, and I will apply the in my next project, as well as in my life.

Group Members :

Personal reflection: The project I did this year is very educative and meaningful to me. Not only did I learn skills and techniques, but good attitude towards science research as well. It was a valuable experience. We visited NTU almost every week. In the first few weeks, our external mentor briefed us basic properties of the materials we were using, regulations in the labs and the experimental apparatus we would use. These lessons benefited me later in hands-on activities. The information sometimes could be quite difficult, but fundamental understanding of the whole procedure was of extreme importance to get accurate results and keep our research in a correct direction. The autoclave reactor was the main apparatus in the synthesizing and testing process. However, at the beginning, we were not allowed to use the old reactor to make MOF samples due to safety issues. Though we had some different types of samples for the use of data analysis, we still needed a new one to make more samples for our own experiments. However, the new autoclave reactor arrive only after the June Holiday, which was already quite late according to our timing. Before that, we had to ask our mentor for permission to use the old one to carry out the experiments to catch up with our planning. We negotiated with our mentor and the Engineering Department staff many times in order to make sure that the new reactor could arrive as soon as possible. Finally, the long waiting ended and we managed to make some samples using the new reactor, and the results were quite satisfying. We spend great effort in communicating with our mentor, and learnt perseverance as well. The whole apparatus we used for the testing, data collecting consists of hundreds of components. The data from experiments were collected from a USB gauge and, and from the graphs we could analyze the influence of various factors (such as temperature and pressure) on the adsorption efficiency of different types of MOFs. It could help us to check the static sealing performance of the apparatus as well. If the apparatus is loosen, methane gas leak from the joints, unstable lines will be shown on the screen and we had to stop and check leakage. We had to check every components of the apparatus, and it would take hours. If we could not get any conclusion from the graph, we had to dismantle the whole apparatus and rebuild it. We had to be very careful and patient throughout the whole process in order to keep precise and vigorous. Finally, I learnt quite a lot from doing web report, poster and skit. I used to be very reluctant to do these things that I have never tried before. However, as I decided to contribute and involve more in Projects Day 2015, I picked up my courage to do these jobs, and did most fundamental editing work. However quite a number of mistakes existed, I still felt I improved myself. As my CCA was Chinese Drama, I applied my knowledge and experiences of role-playing into our script. Though we still had long paragraphs of presentation, we managed to be attractive and grabbed some attention. From these, I gained confidence to explore new things, and learnt to apply fundamental knowledge wisely for maximum effect.
At the beginning of the project, we were aiming on a larger achievement, which was to synthesis our own MOF that can best fit all the properties of methane gas. However, after doing the literature review, we found out that if we continue this direction, the project might be much too challenging for this is a brand new area for our group. If we want to reach the original goal, we have to learn to calculate the pore sizes and learn the calculation of complexation forces, and it is highly impossible for us to finish within the time limit. Besides, the labortories in NTU are not all open to us and the aparatus is not available all the time, and we have to ask for permission before any experiment. Due all kinds of limitation, we decided that we will mainly focus on the testing and catogrizing of the present MOF instead of synthesising the new ones in order to finish the whole project within the time limit. From this event, I learnt that sometimes we have to compromise to the limited time and resources and adjust our project promptly to achieve better results. During the project, we also met quite a number of problems. One of them is the time management. All of our group members are from P.R.C. and we all went back to China during the June holiday, which is probably the best time to conduct experiments. Also, our free time is mostly on weekends, during which the NTU labs are not available. Thus we had to go to NTU for a tutor session every Wednesday afternoon, which is a really tiring experience. All of us have to take the bus and MRT to NTU right after our lessons and when we return back to the boarding school, it was usually about 7p.m., and we still have to take the bridging course afterwards at 8p.m., thus all of us have really sacrificed a lot for our project. Besides, one of the main apparatus for synthesising, the auto-clave reactor is also not available till July, thus we had quite limited time to do our synthesising and testing, among which the testing part requires really a long period of time. We decided that we will use our term two sabbatical to work on the project and some of us will end our holiday earlier to get back to Singapore and do the further experiments. As the market price of MOF is really high, all the MOF we used for the testing part is synthesised on our own. However, the auto-clave reactor was not available, we thus asked for perimission to use the present MOF samples left in the NTU. And during that period, since the experiment process is long and tedious, during the time waiting, we read the research papers to do further learning and to get more useful information to compare between different material and MOFs. We did a thorough preparation for our experiment before we actually conduct it and so that we could save more time after the auto-clave reactor is available for we are so familiar with the process and the experiment can be more efficient. Thus, through this event, we learnt how to deal with unexpected situation and how to manage time to make our research more efficient. Lastly, I would like to thank Dr. Sybnath and Prof. Anutosh for their sharing of knowledge and experiences and accompanying us throughout the whole project. I also would like to thank Mr. Eugene Chan for his mentorship. He gave us the direction for the possible research areas and commented on each of the slides we sent to him. It is really my pleasure to meet such a responsible mentor.
This project is an all-new experience for me as it was my first time to work on a Cat-12 STEM project. Metal-Organic Framework (MOF) has been a popular topic and many scientists are researching on it. It is my privilege to have the opportunity to learn about this topic. We started the project by paying a visit to NTU and met with Prof Anutosh. For the first time, I visited the adsorption lab and got a brief idea of the whole procedure of methane adsorption. We gradually went deeper into the concepts by carefully reading through the materials prepared by Dr Sibnath and I truly learnt a lot which cannot be learnt from daily lessons at school. One major problem I encountered was time management. Since the schedules for both the NTU mentors and us were quite busy for Term 2, we had to sort out an applicable time slot such that we could discuss the project with NTU mentors. Furthermore, due to safety regulations, the old autoclave reactor used for synthesising MOFs was not permitted to be used this year and we had to wait for the new one to arrive in July, Adding on, the arrival of the new reactor was even delayed for two weeks. Therefore, we had to finish the same amount of work in a shorter period of time. The strategy I suggested was to leave the last section, which was the solution to the final research problem-which one is the most applicable MOF for methane adsorption-for the Final presentation instead of Semi Finals. The final problem remained unsolved until the Final round presentation. In result, we could focus more on less work and optimise the presentation for Semi Finals. It was a success as we managed to present all data and information we had during the Semis. Eventually, we solved the research problem on time and presented to the judges in the Final round by providing a comprehensive data analysis. The performance was satisfactory to me. To proceed further, I believe it necessary for us to carry out more experiments to minimise experimental errors. It is also crucial to do further calculation with regard to the cost of the MOFs selected for this project according to the synthesis procedures. In this way, the conclusion we reached can be better supported by scientific evidence and more reliable. Overall, this project is an unforgettable learning journey for me. My skills of group work and presenting our research in various forms such as skits and research paper were improved. I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with my fellow group mates and learning from Dr Sibnath and Prof Anutosh.