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Hydrogen Isotope Separation for Nuclear Fusion Reactors by Pressure Swing Adsorption – materials characterization and preliminary trials

Project Description

Supervisory team: Prof Semali Perera (lead supervisor), Rachel Lawless (UK Atomic Energy Authority), Prof Tim Mays & Dr Alf Hill

The Joint European Torus (JET), situated at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire, is Europe’s flagship fusion research facility. It is currently the world’s most powerful fusion reactor and the only magnetic confinement experiment capable of using the deuterium-tritium fuel mix that will be used for commercial fusion power.

The understanding of the behaviour of tritium and deuterium in materials, as well as the development of new tritium handling technologies, is essential to the success of future fusion reactors such as ITER and DEMO. This project represents a unique opportunity to work with a team of tritium experts at JET to assist in the advancement of these crucial technologies.

Pressure swing adsorption (PSA) is currently being investigated as a promising new technology for hydrogen isotope separation for Nuclear Fusion applications. A safe and efficient method of isotope separation is crucial for the success of the DEMOnstration Powerplant (DEMO) and future fusion power plants in order to ensure that tritium inventory can be minimised.

On a project supported by the UK Atomic Energy Authority, you will develop and characterise materials for PSA including MOFs and zeolites and you will obtain sorption and desorption isotherms for protium (H2) and deuterium in these materials. This work is an important step in determining if PSA could be a viable technique for use in DEMO and beyond.

Informal enquiries should be addressed to Prof S Perera () or Dr Alf Hill ()


Applicants should ideally have graduated (or be due to graduate) with an undergraduate Masters first class degree and/or MSc distinction (or equivalent overseas qualification). English language requirements must be met at the time of application to be considered for funding.


Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Chemical Engineering. Please ensure you state the full project title and lead supervisor name.

Anticipated start date: 20 January 2020

Funding Notes

Funding will cover UK/EU tuition fees, maintenance stipend £15,009 per annum (2019/20 rate) and training support fee of £1,000 per annum for up to 3.5 years. EU students are eligible to apply if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the funding commencing.

How good is research at University of Bath in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 61.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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