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Assessing the Techno-economic and Environmental Feasibility of E-Fuels/Synthetic Fuels for Low Carbon Transport in UK and Globally

EPSRC CDT in Resilient Decarbonised Fuel Energy Systems

About the Project

Decarbonisation of transport is essential to achieve the UK’s stated goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. E-fuels, which include a range of synthetic fuels produced by combining renewable hydrogen and captured CO2, are expected play a crucial role in reducing emissions in shipping and aviation sectors, and potentially in passenger road transport as well. In the UK context, the rapid expansion of cost-effective offshore wind and the deployment of carbon capture technologies will provide the necessary resources that could underpin a domestic fuel production industry.

This doctoral project will develop novel life cycle assessment and techno-economic approaches to assess the potential for e-fuel production within the UK and their use in the light duty vehicle fleet, and extend findings to the heavy duty road fleet, rail, marine, and/or aviation sectors. The comprehensive approach undertaken will consider the current and future mix of hydrogen production routes and CO2 sources; anticipated developments in fuel production processes; and suitability for direct substitution for conventional fuels in transport applications. You will have the opportunity to develop expertise in innovative tools and methodologies for assessing the environmental and financial implications of deploying emerging technologies and the transition to net-zero.

During the doctorate, you will work closely with an interdisciplinary and international team (Aramco Asia, University of Toronto, and China Automotive Technology and Research Center), providing exciting opportunities to better understand the roles for e-fuels and their associated environmental implications from a global perspective.

Key requirements:

·      A degree in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, or equivalent (MEng high 2.1 or above)

·      Good technical written and verbal communication skills

·      Time management and ability to meet deadlines

·      Ability to work independently and in a team

Funding Notes

The project will be part of the EPSRC-supported Centre for Doctoral Training in Resilient Decarbonised Fuel Energy Systems. The student who undertakes it will be one of a cohort of over 50 students in a broad range of disciplines across the Universities of Sheffield, Nottingham and Cardiff. In addition to the standard EPSRC stipend and payment of UK fees, there will be a stipend enhancement of £3750 per annum for 4 years, with £6000 per annum of funding for research costs and travel.

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