Fully-funded PhD/MSc by Research Studentship in Bio-Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (Chemical Engineering)


   School of Engineering

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  Dr Giuseppe Bagnato  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Developing an efficient transport system over long distances, storage for short periods or on a seasonal/annual basis and creating a hydrogen (H2) distribution network suitable for the various types of applications, are fundamental elements of the H2 supply chain. This is a complex system which must make use of a coordinating set of methodologies and not develop only some elements. R&D in this area, alongside more established methodologies, must also include those under development that allow for a wider field of use of H2 in the future.

For applications such as large-scale industrial processes (refineries, steel mills, paper mills, chemical industries) a massive and continuous supply of hydrogen is required. This requires the integration of clean hydrogen (produced on site) with H2 transmission and distribution systems (in a blend with natural gas, or in dedicated hydrogen pipelines) and with transport/accumulation systems that allow for the safe storage of large quantities capable of ensuring the continuity of operations. This type of storage can be carried out on the ground (more difficult, given the safety limits and high costs) or with underground storage, or through the use of liquid hydrogen carriers which allow both transport and safe storage.

The most developed technology is that of hydrogenation/dehydrogenation of organic molecules (Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier, LOHC).

Storage in the form of NH3, liquefiable at low pressures and on which an extensive system of transport/storage solutions already exists, allows three advantages: i) much higher storage, around 18% by weight; ii) avoid the need to transport the product back once the H2 is released, as the N2 can be withdrawn and returned to the atmosphere (therefore preferable for mobile applications); iii) the possibility of its direct synthesis from N2, H2O and renewable energy, with improved efficiency. Other CO2 hydrogenation molecules (methanol, dimethylether) do not have sufficient reversibility as H2 carriers but it can be used as an alternative to H2 in various applications.

The aim of this PhD is to develop an efficient technology for hydrogenate/dehydrogenate bio-compound for LOHC use. The investigation will include the characterisation of process intensification technologies, studying their performance during the hydrogenation and dehydrogenation reactions.

Qualifications and experience

Candidates should have a relevant first-class degree or first or upper-second-class degree in Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Materials Science/Engineering, Environmental Engineering, or related disciplines.

Good oral and written communication skills with the ability to prepare presentations, reports, and journal papers to the highest levels of quality.

Good interpersonal skills to work effectively in a team consisting of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers.

Informal enquiries and how to apply

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Giuseppe Bagnato ([Email Address Removed] ). Candidates interested in applying should send a copy of their CV together with a personal statement/covering letter addressing their background and suitability for this project to Dr Bagnato.

Chemistry (6) Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

This project is funded by Lancaster University. The studentship will cover UK fees plus the standard maintenance stipend (stipend at UKRI rate for 23/24 academic year £18,622 p.a. tax free). The successful candidate could start in October 2023.

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