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  Development of novel pathways to convert CO2 into C2+ fuels and chemicals towards net zero


   Department of Chemical and Process Engineering

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  Dr Xiaolei Zhang, Dr Jun Li  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Achieving carbon neutrality targets by 2050 is widely recognized as the global most important and challenging mission. The pathways to achieve zero emissions are complex, within which, carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) is playing a critical role. CCUS tackles CO2 emissions from existing energy assets or remove CO2 from the atmosphere and further convert it into another chemical form. For CO2 conversion, C1 based renewable fuels and chemicals (CO, methane, and methanol) are being generated through hydrogenation adopting photo-catalysis, electrochemistry, or thermo-catalysis. However, it is a challenge to directly convert CO2 into C2+ hydrocarbons (ethanol, ethylene, etc.) mainly due to the difficulty on the C-C coupling reaction. The overall aim of this joint cluster is developing new pathways for CO2-to-C2+ conversion including catalyst design and technologies exploration.

Quantum Chemistry and Molecular Dynamics calculations will be carried out to explore the mechanism and kinetics of the process of converting CO2 into valuable products. This innovated project is ideally suited to students with the creativity and motivation to solve engineering problems using scientific-based principles. The student may expect to build his/her career in the area of bioenergy, sustainable energy and green chemistry.

University of Strathclyde takes account of The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies and other UK and European reference points in order to secure the academic standards of its PhD degree programme. The faculty of Engineering support on Postgraduate Certificate in Research Professional Development (PG Cert), Professional Services and external bodies will offer a range of opportunities to continue their personal, professional and career management skills development. A supervision team has been formed for this PhD position including three academic supervisors.

This fully funded PhD project is part of the International Strategic Partner (ISP) joint PhD Cluster between University of Strathclyde and Tsinghua University. The student will also get trained from the partner university, especially on the wider experimental skills, together with specific transferrable research skills in computational chemistry and waste valorization will be developed. The applicant will be expected to participate in relevant national and international conferences, and develop journal papers within the research field.


Chemistry (6) Engineering (12) Environmental Sciences (13)

Funding Notes

The funding package includes both fees and stipend for UK students. The project is also open to international students where the difference between home fee and international fee is required from external funding.
Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering/science/education/humanities discipline, and be very motivated to undertake highly multidisciplinary research.

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Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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