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Artificial Neural Network-informed Process Modelling in Optimisation of Post-combustion Carbon Capture


   Chemical Engineering

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  Dr S Soltani  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

In June 2019, the UK government declared a climate emergency and announced a target of net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to the 1990 emission levels by the year 2050. Carbon dioxide is the main GHG contributing to climate change, emitted mainly by the power generation sector. Therefore, capturing CO2 from the flue gasses of fossil-fuel power plants and its subsequent geological storage, known as post-combustion CO2 capture and storage (CCS), is a key approach to mitigating carbon emissions.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that CCS is essential to achieving net zero emissions. CCS; however, is associated with high operational costs. Optimisation of CCS processes can pinpoint the optimum operating conditions for optimum capture efficiency, capital and operating costs. Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) are multifaceted mathematical tools effectively used to model and predict various complex and highly non-linear processes.

The use of ANN is a practical method in effective optimisation of CO2 capture processes which are highly non-linear in nature. This research aims to develop and experimentally validate a robust ANN-informed post-combustion adsorption-based carbon capture process model. Process modelling and ANN training will be conducted based on the available experimental data for novel adsorbents developed in our lab. This project will be a comprehensive extension to existing experimental research in our group on developing cost-effective adsorbents.

The research will therefore, comprise the following objectives/tasks:

  1. To develop a detailed model of a post-combustion adsorption-based CO2 capture process based on the existing experimental data gathered in our research group;
  2. To develop, train and optimise a robust ANN model based on the existing experimental data, and by conducting additional experimental trials if/when necessary;
  3. To experimentally validate the optimum operating conditions identified in part (2);
  4. To evaluate the adsorption-based carbon process model developed in (1), and informed by (1)-(3).

This work will, therefore, strive to pave the way for accelerated deployment of CCS by helping the UK to meet its recently-announced target of zero greenhouse gas emissions in the country by 2050.

Research activities within the chemical engineering degree programmes at Brunel cover a wide range of multidisciplinary topics. Academic staff involved investigate diverse future facing questions relevant to chemical process engineering, bioprocess engineering, materials manufacturing, energy technologies and low carbon economics. We develop innovative processes and products focusing on clean growth, sustainable development, digitalisation and process safety. Besides advancing scientific knowledge, we also aim to work closely with various industries and communities to provide world-class solutions to current and future social challenges. We conduct our research together with various university-level research centres and institutes. We have a world-leading collection of chemical and materials characterisation facilities at our disposal. At the core of your research study will be the relationship with your supervisor. We encourage you to contact the academic with related interests using our supervisor search tool online to discuss your proposal before submitting your application.

Research journey

Doctoral research programmes (PhDs) take a proud place in the world-class research environment and community at Brunel. PhD students are recognised and valued by their supervisors as an essential part of their departments and a key component of the university's overall strategy to develop and deliver world-class research.

A PhD programme is expected to take 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, with intakes starting in January, April or October.

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1) or an international equivalent. A Masters degree is a welcome, but not required, qualification for entry.

Find out how to apply for a PhD at Brunel

Research support

Excellent research support and training

The Graduate School provides a range of personal, professional and career development opportunities. This includes workshops, online training, coaching and events, to enable you to enhance your professional profile, refine your skills, and plan your next career steps as part of the Researcher Development Programme. The researcher development programme (RDP) offers workshops and seminars in a range of areas including progression, research management, research dissemination, and careers and personal development. You will also be offered a number of online, self-study courses on BBL, including Research Integrity, Research Skills Toolkit, Research Methods in Literature Review and Principles of Research Methods.

Library services

Brunel's Library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 ebooks, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs. As well as the physical resources available in the Library, we also provide access to a wealth of electronic resources. These include databases, journals and e-books. Access to these resources has been bought by the Library through subscription and is limited to current staff and students. 

Dedicated research support staff provide guidance and training on open access, research data management, copyright and other research integrity issues.

Find out more: Brunel Library

Careers support

You will receive tailored careers support during your PhD and for up to three years after you complete your research at Brunel. We encourage you to actively engage in career planning and managing your personal development right from the start of your research, even (or perhaps especially) if you don't yet have a career path in mind. Our careers provision includes online information and advice, one-to-one consultations and a range of events and workshops. The Professional Development Centre runs a varied programme of careers events throughout the academic year. These include industry insight sessions, recruitment fairs, employer pop-ups and skills workshops.


Funding Notes

This is a self-funded topic
Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: View Website. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.
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