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Electrochemical Conversion of Captured Carbon Dioxide

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, March 31, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) is anticipated to be a key technology for enabling industrial decarbonisation. Critical industries such as glass and steel manufacture will continue to be significant emitters of CO2 for the foreseeable future. Carbon capture offers a way to mitigate the environmental impact and utilisation provides a way to take a waste-molecule (CO2) and turn it into a useful product. Although relatively mature capture technologies now exist, limited options for how to utilise the captured CO2 at scale are known.
The overall objective of the project is to develop new approaches to carbon dioxide utilisation. Electrocatalytic carbon dioxide reduction to useful fuels and feedstocks (e.g. CH4, CH3OH, CO) has been reported by numerous groups world-wide, including our own [1,2]. However studies use high purity, concentrated, CO2 as the feedstock which bears little resemblance to the type of CO2 sources that industry generates. This studentship, which is part-funded by an industrial partner, will explore two parallel pathways. Firstly they will study the fundamental electrochemistry of CO2 capture media and explore the possible conversion of CO2 during the capture process in an integrated one-pot process. The second approach will be to develop and test highly selective electrocatalysts that are able to operate selectively, even at low CO2 concentrations and in the presence of typical contaminant species (e.g NOx, SOx).

The project will appeal to students with interests in electrochemistry and catalysis. Experience of these topics is desirable, but not essential. Applications are encouraged from highly motivated candidates who have, or expect to have, at least a 2:1 degree or equivalent in Chemistry or other closely related disciplines.

Applications should be made as soon as possible but no later than 31st March 2020. Informal enquiries are also encouraged and should be addressed to Professor Alex Cowan ().

Some teaching duties may be required.

To apply for this opportunity, please visit:

Funding Notes

The award will pay full tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 3.5 years (currently £14,777 p.a.) and it is anticipated that the successful candidate will start in October 2020. Due to funding restrictions this post is limited to UK/EU based candidates only.


[1] Organometallics 2019, 38, 6, 1224-1229
[2] Chem. Sci., 2016,7, 1521-1526
Please also see for a full description of the groups work.

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