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Combatting Climate Change by Carbon Dioxide Air Capture (ALEXANDERU16SF)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Alexander
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Fossil fuel combustion is the main driver of human induced climate change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has called for drastic 80% cuts in CO2 emissions by 2050. Furthermore, negative CO2 emissions may be needed to avoid extreme climate change and IPCC scenarios staying below 2°C warming include CO2 removal (CDR) technologies.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) fitted to stationary emission sources can play an important role in reducing emissions, but CCS cannot address emissions from mobile sources, nor can it directly remove CO2 from air to address emissions already in the atmosphere. There is now an urgent need for technologies to efficiently capture CO2 directly from air.

This PhD project aims to study spray-based CO2 air capture processes and to explore novel routes to enhanced performance and reduced cost by use of electrospray (ES) technology. ES is a versatile technique for generation of droplets of tuneable size which are self-dispersing due to electrostatic repulsion, reducing drop coalescence.

You will gain in-depth understanding of CDR and ES technology. ES performance of selected sorbents will be examined and mathematical models developed to describe the spray capture process. The model will be utilized to predict process performance and design laboratory scale prototypes. You will then have the opportunity to build and test the novel technology for validation of the process and theoretical model.

You will benefit from Dr Alexander’s internationally recognised electrospray expertise and from extensive links with experts in the field of CDR through Dr Vaughan, a leading international expert. Networks include the Tyndall Centre, Oxford Greenhouse Gas Removal conference and industrial links, eg Virgin Earth Challenge. You will be encouraged to attend appropriate PPD training events and to present your work at an international conference.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at:

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


i) IPCC (2014) 5th Assessment Report
ii) Lackner K.S., et al., (2012)”The Urgency of the Development of CO2 Capture from Ambient Air.” PNAS 109, 33: 13156-13162.
iii) Stolaroff J.K. Keith D.W., Lowry G.V., (2008) “Carbon Dioxide Capture from Atmospheric Air Using Sodium Hydroxide Spray.” Environ. Sci. Technol. 42: 2728-2735
iv) Ganan-Calvo, A. M., J. Davila, and A. Barrero. "Current and droplet size in the electrospraying of liquids. Scaling laws." Journal of Aerosol Science 28.2 (1997): 249-275

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