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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

Grace Louise Duan

Grace Duan is a multidisciplinary design engineer with a love for technology and an intrinsically innovative sustainable mindset. She is passionate about interventions for climate and food security.


Business Development Internship at Amazon (2022)

UNESCO & Women@Dior Mentee (2023)

Material Science Intern at THE UNSEEN (2020)

Clinical Operations at Babylon Health (2023)


MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering - Imperial College London & Royal College of Art (2021-2023)

BEng Electronic Engineering with Management - King's College London (2017-2020)


Industrial Design Studentship, Royal Commission of the Exhibition of 1851

Headshot of Grace Louise Duan

Where I am in 2023

As someone who came from an electronic engineering background, I was eager to break free from the constraints of rote technicality and delve into the realm of unrestrained creativity. Over the past two years, I have endeavored to synthesize critical thinking and innovative problem-solving into my work. My ultimate goal is to utilise the skills and experience I've gained to make a meaningful impact on the world.

RCA Showcase

I am proud to present a selection of the projects I have worked on over the past couple of years.

The Leafeon System

Leaf Protein Concentrate (LPC) is a promising and innovative food source that is the cheapest, most abundant source of protein.

The Leafeon System is a circular system and machine that has the potential to simultaneously bridge the nutrition gap and create more sustainable, organic agriculture with a biorefinery. Along with efficient machinery designed, LPC is made from upcycling legume waste and surpluses, where agricultural biomass waste is a significant source of global GHG emissions.

The Leafeon System is fully circular and has zero waste products, looking UN SGDs 2 & 15 right in the eye.

Labelling of the design of the machine
Machine DesignA three-stage mechanical process can be used to create Leaf Protein Concentrate. In the first stage, an auger screw extruder is used for juice pressing, which gets transported to the second stage, heat coagulation. This is done in a heat chamber with using a PTC heater, with feedback loop for the temperature sensor and motor driver for the pump to turn on only if the temperature is correct to pump the coagulum to the third stage, separation, with a centrifuge spinning up to 2000rpm.
A diagram showing the bio refinery system of LPC production
Biorefinery SystemLPC lends nicely to a bio-refinery system, meaning that it can be self-sustaining. All the byproducts of LPC production are useful, from the fibre which can be used as mushroom substrate to biofuel, and the brown juice after coagulation which can be used as organic fertiliser. They can also be further refined by different processes. This can give stakeholders revenue side-streams.
Prototype In-Field – Deploying and testing our final prototype at Chichester Harbour.

MicroSentry Project Description

Microplastics are a growing problem in our oceans and waterways. Current methods for detecting microplastics in water bodies are a resource-intensive process that requires a great deal of expertise, expensive equipment, labour and time.

MicroSentry is an innovative solution addressing this problem. Our device is a low-cost and field-deployable in-situ sensor that can be attached to existing infrastructures such as data buoys, research vessels, and piers. It is designed to be used for continuous data collection, providing real-time representative data that is relevant to scientific research and contamination monitoring for water companies.

Our sensor not only detects microplastics but also transmits the data to a data visualisation platform where scientific data can be translated into readable data for the public. This allows for easy access and understanding of the microplastic pollution levels in our water bodies.

MicroSentry is a two-part solution that includes the sensor device itself and its data product. This combination effectively addresses the needs of scientific research as well as contamination monitoring, which can help target policy and remediation efforts set by governing agencies.

MicroSentry is more than just a device, it's a solution that aims to protect our water bodies and the environment.

Core Sensor – The render of the core sensor system has a compact electronic module with provisions for auxiliary components and
MicroSentry Development
In-Situ Deployment – The core sensor can be made standalone by attaching it to our floating buoy that have its own power and com
Prototyping Stages – Snaps from different prototyping stages
Team – From left to right: Nirmal Thomas, Linxi Cao, Grace Louise Duan, Irene Jia
Seeing what's too small to see
Photo of the Public Exposure bench

Artist's Note

I was inspired by brutalism and how unapproachable a brutalist bench would be. Although a public bench has many functionalities other than sitting, most of these are discouraged through hostile architecture. I wanted to create a bench that didn’t have any obstructions, e.g. armrests, letting the public use it in any way they see fit.

The symmetric design is simple. The places with concrete are straight cuboids; this is what makes contact to both the ground and the body. The bends are steel only.

Exposure interested me - exposure of the steel armatures, and exposure of the gravel within the concrete. I experimented with different proportions of sand, aggregate and water to find my desirable cement mixture, which creates a unique texture.

Royal Commission of the Exhibition of 1851

Industrial Design Studentship