According to the UK Hydrogen Strategy published in 2021, UK will largely depend on green hydrogen fuel to decarbonise heating, transport, industrial and other sectors to meet 2050 emission targets. Green hydrogen fuel is produced using electrolysers (which split water into hydrogen and oxygen) powered by electricity generated from renewable energy sources such as solar or wind energy sources. Alkaline electrolysers, compared to other electrolysers, are reliable and cheap. Clean Power Hydrogen (CPH2) has developed a novel and efficient membrane free alkaline electrolysers which employ very cheap materials, thus substantially reducing the cost of the water electrolysis system and boosting the adoption of this green hydrogen generating technology.
This project looks for ways to further improve the efficiency and the durability of the membrane-free electrolysers through investigating new materials, surface-treatments and/or designs. Particular attention is to be given to the materials of the electrodes where the oxygen and hydrogen evolution half reactions take place. In this regard, alternative materials will be investigated and shortlisted based on their efficiency, durability and corrosion-resistance. These materials will be ex-situ and in-situ tested. Further, multiphysics models simulating the corrosion process and/or the operation of the electrolyser will be developed to shorten the design cycles and obtain insights on how to improve the performance and the lifetime of the electrolyser.
Candidates should hold a first- or second-class honours in chemistry, chemical engineering or other relevant disciplines. A strong background in electrochemistry, corrosion studies, electrolyser technology, and/or modelling and simulation are desirable but not essential. This project is industrially sponsored by CPH2 which is a leading electrolyser manufacturer in South Yorkshire that develops a unique membrane free electrolyser. The successful candidates will work under the supervision of Dr Mohammed S. Ismail and Prof Mohamed Pourkashanian (University of Sheffield) and Mr Ian Pillay (CPH2). For informal enquiries, please contact Prof Derek Ingham at email@example.com. If interested, please apply online at: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/phd/apply/applying mentioning the title of the project and the names of the supervisors in your application and ensure that you enclose all the following documents:
- An up-to-date CV
- Degree transcripts
- A cover letter detailing your suitability for the project (max 500 words)
- Two references - at least one of which must be from an academic familiar with the applicant’s academic work and abilities
The project will be part of the EPSRC-supported Centre for Doctoral Training in Resilient Decarbonised Fuel Energy Systems. The studentship will cover full university fees and a tax-free, enhanced annual stipend of £20,352. The student who undertakes it will be one of a cohort of over 50 students in a broad range of disciplines across the Universities of Sheffield, Nottingham and Cardiff. This studentship is open to home students and EU students who have been residents in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship. Where possible, covering the international fees for outstanding students will be also considered.