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Compact and responsive sorption thermal energy storages: material development, experimental characterisation and modelling


   College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

  Dr Ahmed Rezk, Dr RA Martin  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Thermal energy storages (TES) can be used in a wide range of applications including space heating & cooling and industrial processes. Heat storage provides heat load shifting capability by decoupling the heat supply and demand. It smoothes the peak demand for heating, utilises the intermittency of renewable energy resources (e.g. solar thermal, geothermal and PV driven electric heaters), maintains the operation of smaller heating equipment at peak efficiency conditions (e.g. electric heat pumps and micro combined heat and power systems) and transports surplus thermal energy for later use to promote the concepts of heat sharing networks. 

Sorption-based TES, a subcategory of thermochemical TES, is the next-generation technology that provides the highest possible storage density compared to the other alternative technologies. However, the poor thermal performance of the existing working substances bottlenecks the development of effective systems. The vision of this project is to progress beyond the state-of-the-art research and filling the knowledge gaps in order to achieve a paradigm shift in the field of sorption heat storing.  

The aim of the project is to develop new materials and component designs to overcome the heat and mass transfer limitations, thereby, miniaturise and accelerate the rate of heat charging / discharging in sorption-based heat storage. The research to be undertaken will require material selection & development, formulation of new composite sorbents by utilising carbon-based hosting structures and ionic liquids, detailed material characterisation, develop a tool to optimise the composites formulation and empirical modelling of the developed materials. A numerical modelling at component level will be carried out and coupled with the experimental results to enable designing effective sorption reactors. The project will focus on low-temperature heat storage (150-50 oC). State-of-the-art laboratory facilities for characterisation of material thermal and sorption properties and rapid prototyping are available to accomplish this work at Aston University. 

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have been awarded, or expect to achieve, a Masters degree in a relevant subject with a 60% or higher weighted average, and/or a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (or an equivalent qualification from an overseas institution) in Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Physical sciences, Material Sciences or Chemistry. Preferred skill requirements include process modelling and / or material formulation.

 Submitting an application

As part of the application, you will need to supply: 

  • A copy of your current CV 
  • Copies of your academic qualifications for your Bachelor degree, and Masters degree; this should include both certificates and transcripts, and must be translated in to English 
  • A research proposal statement* 
  • Two academic references 
  • Proof of your English Language proficiency 

Details of how to submit your application, and the necessary supporting documents can be found here

*The application must be accompanied by a “research proposal” statement. An original proposal is not required as the initial scope of the project has been defined, candidates should take this opportunity to detail how their knowledge and experience will benefit the project and should also be accompanied by a brief review of relevant research literature.

Please include the supervisor name, project title, and project reference in your Personal Statement.


Funding Notes

There is no financial support available from Aston University for this position. Applicants should either be confident they can cover the costs from their own resources or be applying for an external scholarship. As part of the application you will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or secured, this additional funding.
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