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High Temperature Co-Electrolysis with co-production of chemicals using Solid Oxide Cells.

   Centre for Sustainable Engineering

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  Dr V Krishnan  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

High temperature Electrolysis of Steam (HTSE), and Co-Electrolysis (HTCE) of CO2-moisture containing flue gases are achievable using Solid Oxide Cells (SOCs). The advantage of using High Temperature Electrolysis or Co-Electrolysis is - the production of Hydrogen, or Syngas respectively, at very high electrical efficiencies, which can reach 100% (at the thermo-neutral operating voltage). Obviously this translates into the production of Hydrogen/ Syngas at a much lower electrical power consumption, compared to a low temperature PEM electrolyzer. Usage of HTSE or HTCE can be facilitated in environments where there is considerable source of hot flue gases, and the heat requirements for the electrolyzers can be integrated with the flue gas itself, and adjusted

The most effective of these SOCs are the ‘metal supported cells (MSCs)’, which minimize the requirement of Rare Earth component oxides/ electrocatalysts. While there are issues regarding long term stability of MSCs, there are considerable opportunities to lower capital cost per unit wattage (power consumption). Additionally, MSCs can be configured as  a ‘near symmetric cell’, wherein the catalytic supports are the same/ similar in the anode and the cathode.

This PhD research aims to synthesize the above type of cell with a mixed metal oxide catalyst, such as a doped Ceria or a doped Zirconia; while there is O2- removal from the cathode (via formation of H2 or Syngas), the oxide ion can then be used as an oxidant at the anode, where instead of forming Oxygen only, it can then be consumed instantly for partial or total oxidation of a suitable feedstock. Not only does this idea enable co-production of Oxygenated value-added products at the anode but it also lowers the operating voltage of the cell, thereby causing higher efficiencies for Hydrogen/ syngas production on the cathode.

In order to run these experiments, a small scale MSC can be fabricated by using standard cermet methods, and with the aid of metered gas flows, experiments can be performed with current voltage characteristics and gas compositions, being measured. Electrochemical characterization using Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) is also another critical aspect of this work. Oxidation reactions such as – partial oxidation of methane/ higher hydrocarbons, or oxidative splitting of ammonia, will be used as test reactions to explore the concept of ‘near symmetrical cell MSCs’. It is also an important study to tailor the anodic and cathodic catalyst to optimize reaction efficiencies on either side, which is a critical part of this work.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should hold or expect to obtain a good honours degree (2:1 or above) in a relevant discipline. A masters level qualification in a relevant discipline is desirable, but not essential, as well as a demonstrable understanding of the research area. Further details of the expected background may appear in the specific project details. International students will be subject to the standard entry criteria relating to English language ability, ATAS clearance and, when relevant, UK visa requirements and procedures.

How to Apply

Applicants should apply online for this opportunity at:

Please use the Online Application (Funded PHD) application form. When asked to specify funding select “other” and enter ‘RDS’ and the title of the PhD project that you are applying for. You should ensure that you clearly indicate that you are applying for a Funded Studentship and the title of the topic or project on the proposal that you will need to upload when applying. If you would like to apply for more than one project, you will need to complete a further application form and specify the relevant title for each application to a topic or project.

Applications for studentships that do not clearly indicate that the application is for a Funded Studentship and state the title of the project applied for on the proposal may mean that your application may not be considered for the appropriate funding.

For academic enquiries, please contact [Email Address Removed].

For administrative enquiries before or when making your application, contact [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

The Fees-Paid PhD studentship will cover all tuition fees for the period of a full-time PhD Registration of up to four years. Successful applicants who are eligible will be able to access the UK Doctoral Loan scheme to support with living costs. The Fully Funded PhD Studentship covers tuition fees for the period of a full-time PhD Registration of up to four years and provide an annual tax-free stipend of £15,000 for three years, subject to satisfactory progress. Applicants who are employed and their employer is interested in funding a PhD, can apply for a Collaborative Studentship.
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