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Developing a new near surface low-cost observational capability. The (X-rack)-1 project (inverse X-rack project)


Project Description

CENTA2 is a consortium of research intensive Universities and research institutes that are working together to provide excellence in doctoral research training. Cranfield University is proud to be working alongside these partners to create the next generation of scientific leaders in environmental science.

This project proposes to develop a suite of relatively low-cost instruments for the measurement of CO2 and CO based on a minituarised NDIR spectrometer and an array of electrochemical sensors for use on arrange of aircraft. The project will work with specialists at the NERC FAAM (Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements) to develop a stand-alone semi-autonomous generalised aircraft instrument for use globally for measuring carbon flux especially on small aircraft platforms. The student will be based at the Cranfield campus at Cranfield in Bedfordshire. https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/About/How-to-find-Cranfield

Overview

Working with the world leading FAAM research aircraft facility.
Developing a new, cutting edge atmospheric observational capability.
Working with cutting edge instruments to develop an instrument with potentially global aircraft applications.

The NERC FAAM (Natural Environment Research Council. Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements) aircraft is a highly modified BAe-146 platform based at Cranfield University (see figure 1). It is part of the UK NCAS (National Centre for Atmospheric Science) provision of atmospheric observation assets for UK researchers to undertake airborne studies globally. It carries a wide range of instrumentation split broadly into two categories; core and non-core. Core instruments are routinely installed and operated by FAAM personnel. Non-core instruments are flown as part of campaigns globally (owned and operated by UK research partners). Instruments are installed in 19” aircraft racks. All instruments undergo extensive testing for use on the BAe-146 as part of a strict time and cost intensive certification process.

The X-rack is a FAAM initiative to allow testing of small footprint instruments on the BAe-146 with a reduced certification overheads. This is a custom built aircraft rack with generalised basic components pre-installed including data telemetry and power.

Regional carbon flux, key for climate studies, to the free atmosphere is often calculated using inversion modelling where near surface CO2 and CO concentrations are combined with models of atmospheric dynamics and transport. CO2:CO is used to improve inversion models. Aircraft platforms are ideal for collecting the physico-chemical data needed for inversion studies. The BAe-146 particularly so with its extensive observational payload including CO2 and CO. Other aircraft have the potential to gather this information but are limited by availability of suitable instrumentation.

This project proposes to develop a suite of relatively low-cost instruments for the measurement of CO2 and CO based on a miniaturised NDIR spectrometer and an array of electrochemical sensors for use on arrange of aircraft. It builds on existing Cranfield ground based NERC projects as well as a large scale balloon based instrumentation project which Cranfield is part of. This suite will be developed and validated on the BAe-146 X-rack as well as Cranfield University research aircraft with the aim of developing a stand-alone semi-autonomous generalised aircraft instrument for use globally especially on small aircraft platforms.

For full project description please visit: http://www.centa.org.uk/themes/climate-environmental-sustainability/c4/

Key dates
• Application deadline – 21st January 2019
• Interviews (to be conducted via Skype) – w/c 11th February 2019
• Selection panel – 21st February 2019
• Universal acceptance date – 20th March 2019

How to apply -
To apply for one of the Cranfield University projects you will need to complete our online application form.

1. Please state the name of the project you will to apply for
2. When asked how you intend to fund your postgraduate studies please state that you wish to apply for a NERC CENTA2 studentship.
3. You will also be required to complete and submit the CENTA2 studentship application form and attach it to the application form.

Funding Notes

CENTA2 studentships are for 3.5 years and are funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). In addition to the full payment of their tuition fees, successful candidates will receive the following financial support.
Annual stipend, set at £14,777 for 2018/19
Research training support grant (RTSG) of £8,000
Further guidance about eligibility is available at RCUK Terms & Conditions

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