Dr. Alvin Orbaek White is a Senior Lecturer and Sêr Cymru II Fellow and at the Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI). His vision is to advance global energy sustainability by developing more efficient and equitable methods of transmitting electricity. He is building a research group that develops new methods to produce and use carbon nanomaterials. While also building a community of researchers and stakeholders to engage this issue. He aims to impact the environment both locally and globally positively. This will be done in a two-fold manner. Firstly, by taking carbon waste and turning it into carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Secondly, to use CNTs to transmit electricity because they are much lighter so they offer mass savings and specific forms (ballistic conductors) transmit electricity with near-zero loss. Alvin also has active research interests into Blockchain technologies and innovation, as well pursuing impact activities to communicate the socio-technical aspects of science and technology better.

Throughout his academic career, Dr. Orbaek White has worked to develop innovative methods to synthesise and characterise carbon nanomaterials. He completed his PhD at Rice University, USA, on the catalytic growth of single-walled carbon nanotubes. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he developed a novel technique resulting in the growth of SWCNTs with centimetre length scales; called ultra-long CNTs. Alvin's research activities are now heavily focused on using circular economy philosophy to close the loop on the carbon cycle.

Alvin is an alumnus of the Welsh Crucible (2017) and the Digital Economy Crucible (2017).

If you would like to join our group, please contact me and include your CV and a brief introduction stating how your interests relate to our research. Availability changes according to project needs and funding; but, I am always ready to meet the most outstanding candidates from all fields and areas of expertise. Candidates must be eager to learn, be willing to fail but not be deterred.

Areas of Expertise

  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Synthesis of ultra long single walled carbon nanotubes
  • Synthesis of carbon nanomaterials for energy distribution
  • Controlled synthesis of inorganic nanomaterials
  • Synthesis of plasmonic nanoparticles
  • Catalytic growth of carbon nanomaterials (single and multi wall carbon nanotubes)
  • chemical recycling of plastics
  • Education of chemistry by use of silver nanotechnology
  • circular economy


  1. & Carbon-assisted catalyst pretreatment enables straightforward synthesis of high-density carbon nanotube forests. Carbon
  2. & (2019). Chemical recycling of consumer-grade black plastic into electrically conductive carbon nanotubes. (C No. 5). : MDPI.
  3. & Spatial and Contamination-Dependent Electrical Properties of Carbon Nanotubes. Nano Letters 18(2), 695-700.
  4. & Highly Consistent Atmospheric Pressure Synthesis of Carbon Nanotube Forests by Mitigation of Moisture Transients. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 120(20), 11277-11287.
  5. & Synthesis and Characterization of Silver Nanoparticles for an Undergraduate Laboratory. Journal of Chemical Education 92(2), 339-344.
  6. & Overcoming the “Coffee-Stain” Effect by Compositional Marangoni-Flow-Assisted Drop-Drying. The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 116(22), 6536-6542.
  7. & Preparation and evaluation of polyethyleneimine-single walled carbon nanotube conjugates as vectors for pancreatic cancer treatment. Journal of Materials Chemistry B 2(29), 4740
  8. & Increasing the Efficiency of Single Walled Carbon Nanotube Amplification by Fe–Co Catalysts Through the Optimization of CH4/H2Partial Pressures. Nano Letters 11(7), 2871-2874.

See more...


  • EG-103 Heat Transfer

    The module is designed to provide a basic understanding of heat transfer in Chemical Engineering. Subjects will include: conduction, convection (forced and natural) and radiation. Students will be given a basis for the more advanced study of the subject in other modules. Students will be introduced to process equipment used in industry that deals with heat transfer.

  • EGA326 Chemical Engineering Design Project

    This module aims to give students experience in handling a complex and integrated engineering process design. This task will require, and so reinforce, the material taught throughout the undergraduate course and an additional amount of material from directed private study. The module provides transferable skills related to working in a team environment on a major project.


  • Development of a hydrogen fuel cell heat rejection model (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Charlie Dunnill

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Charlie Dunnill
  • Development cold-wall chemical vapour deposition systems for the growth of carbon nanotubes (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Charlie Dunnill
  • Engineering for the circular economy. Using nanotechnology to upcycle waste materials into higher value products such as carbon nanomaterials«br /»«br /»«br /» (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Andrew Barron
  • Towards the development of commercial scale CO2 electrolysers (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Enrico Andreoli
  • Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes and their interactions with Freshwater Low Trophic Level Organisms.«br /»«br /»«br /»«br /»«br /»«br /»«br /»«br /» (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Kam Tang
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Enrico Andreoli

Academic History

Date Qualification Location
2016 Postdoctoral Associate Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2013 Ph.D Chemistry Rice University
2010 M.A Chemistry Rice University
2006 Certificate International Space University, Strasbourg, France
2003 B.Sc Experimental Physics National University of Ireland Galway

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
January 2017 January 2020 Sêr Cymru II Fellow Swansea University
September 2016 Present Senior Lecturer Swansea University
January 2014 July 2016 Postdoctoral Associate Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
2012 2013 Author John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
2006 2006 Consultant Engineer Centre de Tecnologia Aeroespacial (CTAE), Barcelona, Spain.
2003 2005 Accounts Payable Deloitte (S2G), Barcelona, Spain

Applying nanotechnology to solve environmental problems

This is a description of self-funded PhD opportunities that are available at Swansea University’s College of Engineering which are based in the Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI).

The aim of this project is to positively impact the environment both locally and globally. This will be done by taking carbon waste and turning it into carbon nanotubes (CNTs). CNTs can be used to transmit electricity under a wide range of temperatures, they are much lighter so they offer mass savings, and specialized forms are ballistic conductors which can transmit electricity with near zero loss.

Solid waste products such as plastics can be increasingly difficult to recycle, but they can be repurposed to form CNT electrical conductors. Other waste materials such as carbon dioxide is the most relevant greenhouse gas, and it has also been positively shown to be an effective feedstock for the synthesis of CNTs. They can be formed by either using chemical vapour deposition (CVD) or by using electrochemistry, this allows the researcher an opportunity to explore multiple pathways to success while also developing an expanded set of technical skills.

This project has three goals. Firstly, to explore the full range of materials that will have the greatest impact when used as feedstock for nanotube growth. Second, to improve the conversion rate of waste carbons into carbon nanotubes. Third, to integrate the technology into current industrial standards and practices. Industrial partners, collaborators and stakeholders will be sought in order to increase the impact of this research. The successful PhD student will be expect to present their work at relevant conferences and meetings with stakeholders, and to assist in the publication of journal articles.

There are a range of specializations that can be pursued and will be agreed according to the applicant’s abilities and interests. These specializations range from (but are not limited to):

  • chemical recycling of plastics
  • chemical recycling of rubber
  • chemical recycling of composites
  • conversion of microplastics to carbon nanomaterials
  • conversion of carbon dioxide to carbon nanomaterials
  • conversion of greenhouse gasses to carbon nanomaterials
  • electrical characterization of products
  • design and construction of ancillary devices
  • carbon nanotube amplification and cloning
  • formation of ultralong single walled carbon nanotubes
  • determining the impact of nanomaterials on the environment
  • CFD analysis of fluid behaviour in high velocity laminar flow environments

The details of each specialization can be discussed prior to starting.


Additional details of the work in this group may be found at the following links:



  • Candidates must be eager to learn, be willing to fail, and not be deterred by failure.
  • Candidates will be preferred if they have a first, or upper second class honours or a Master’s degree (with Merit) in a relevant discipline such as mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry, physics, or a related science.
  • Swansea University is an equal opportunity employer, and we welcome applications regardless of gender, race, or self-identity.



Please note that this is a self-funded PhD project. However, applicants will be encouraged and supported during their PhD to apply for travel grants, fellowships, and any relevant awards or funding that become available.


How to apply:

Informal enquiries about this project are welcome and may be directed via email.

Should you wish to apply then please send the following to Dr Alvin Orbaek White (Alvin.OrbaekWhite@Swansea.ac.uk)

  • CV, include details of any current and relevant employment or work experience (also include contact details for a reference)
  • A cover letter stating why the project you are applying for particularly matches your skills and experience and how you would choose to develop the project and in which specialization you are most interested to solve