One of the greatest opportunities to fast-track the decarbonization of Europe’s energy system builds on the synergistic exploitation of two key low carbon technologies: hydrogen and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Enabling decentralised hydrogen (H2) production and CO2 capture requires finding ways to increase the efficiency of the CO2/H2 separation, irrespectively of the plant size. In this context, processes such as pressure swing adsorption (PSA) are the technical option of choice to separate CO2 from the syngas produced by the gasifier, as the feed to the separation step is already at elevated pressures. Attempts to evaluate this adsorption-based CO2 capture technology must rely on (i) high-performance measurement of the relevant properties at industrially relevant conditions and (ii) rapid screening of many configurations of the separation process, including variations in materials and adsorption/desorption cycles. However, experimental data on both equilibrium and kinetic aspects of multicomponent CO2/H2 adsorption are lacking in the literature. Moreover, the design and optimization of cycles that provide high purity and high recovery of the more adsorbable component (CO2) are not established yet.
The aim this project is to undertake a systematic experimental investigation on industrial adsorbents of unary and binary adsorption equilibrium and kinetics for CO2/H2 over wide ranges of pressure and temperature. Measurement of static adsorption equilibria will be complemented by breakthrough experiments in a fixed-bed adsorber involving feed mixtures of carbon dioxide and hydrogen of different compositions (including impurities). Both commercial and emerging materials will be evaluated in terms of adsorption selectivity. To this aim, novel experimental approaches that enable high-throughput material screening will also be considered, such as those based on imaging technology. To support and extend the experimental observations, a mathematical model will be developed to enable rapid and robust screening of various configurations of the PSA process. Parametric analyses will be carried out on the relevant quantities (e.g., purity and recovery), thereby enabling the identification of optimal operating conditions.
The PhD scholarship is available from October 1st 2019 and is open to all applicants regardless of their fee status. The scholarship covers both the tuition fees and an annual tax-free bursary, and its standard period is 42 months. The successful applicant is expected to have obtained (or be heading for) a First Class Honours degree at Master’s level (or equivalent) in chemical engineering, another branch of engineering or a related science. The post is based in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London (South Kensington Campus).
Informal enquiries about the post and the application process can be made to Dr. Ronny Pini ([email protected]) by including a motivation letter and CV.