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Development of novel refrigerants with low global warming potential (Advert Reference: SF19/EE/MCE/VICENTE)

Faculty of Engineering and Environment

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Dr YS Vicente , Prof K Mahkamov Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

In 2016, a global environmental agreement was introduced to phase out the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants with global warming potential (GWP) by years 2036 to 2047, starting in 2019. This has promoted an area of research towards the development of new refrigerants with low global warming potential. The environmentally benign natural refrigerants such as CO2, and new synthetic refrigerants such as hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) have been proposed as a low GWP alternative to the current HFC refrigerants. However further work on understanding the phase behaviour and thermophysical properties for these new refrigerants and their mixtures is very important for designing and evaluating refrigeration cycle performances.

The objectives of the PhD project will be to gain a better understanding of the fundamental thermodynamics and to evaluate the overall refrigeration cycle performances in terms of both efficiency and cost. The thermodynamic study will involve modelling the thermophysical properties of low GWP refrigerants using the perturbed chain form of the statistical associating fluid theory (PC-SAFT). PC-SAFT has been selected because it offers a more reliable approach to predict both, primary properties (such as density) and secondary properties (for example heat capacity). This part of the project will generate extremely high-quality knowledge to understand the operation of the refrigeration cycle such as heat exchange, compression and expansion.

Once the PC-SAFT model is developed for the low GWP refrigerants, it would be incorporated into the refrigerant cycle software models, and it will allow a detail analysis in term of energy efficiency and cost. The methodology will be divided in three steps: energy analysis, exergy analysis and energy-economic analysis. Therefore, the optimal working fluids will be identified during energy-economic optimisation by using computer-aided molecular design techniques. This research project will explore the optimum conditions for refrigeration cycles with low GWP refrigerants from the molecular point of view all the way until the cycle performance.

This project will be supervised by Dr Yolanda Sanchez Vicente

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF19/EE/MCE/VICENTE) will not be considered.

Start Date: 1 March 2020 or 1 October 2020

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Funding Notes

This is an unfunded research project.

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