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Mapping sustainable biomass heating pathways for heat decarbonisation

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

Heat is the biggest form of energy use in the UK, accounting for more than 85% of the energy use in the domestic and industrial sectors. It is the single largest contributor to UK’s energy emissions, prompting the need to decarbonise the sector. In the last decade, there has been increasing focus on increase energy efficiency and reducing heat consumption, but efforts are not enough to meet emissions reduction commitment, i.e. the reduction of greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. Thus, recent policies are geared towards expanding the use of low carbon heat sources and technologies, one of which involves biomass heating. Biomass heating provides multiple fuel and conversion pathways to heat provision, emission reduction and renewable energy generation. Feedstocks are diverse, varying from wood-fuels, organic wastes to other waste resources. Technological solutions also vary from wood-fired biomass boilers, small district heating systems, biogas facilities to medium- and large biomass-fired plants. Such transition thus presents complex challenges for scaling-up sustainable biomass heating in the UK. This project aims to develop sustainable, integrated and efficient approaches to biomass heating amidst barriers, opportunities and uncertainties. The different pathways and contributions to heat decarbonisation will be examined using systems thinking approach and life cycle sustainable assessment framework.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:

Funding Notes

Excellent candidates may be considered for a University scholarship. This PhD project is also offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with their own funding, or those applying to funding sources.

Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering or science discipline and be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research. Knowledge and research experiences in the following areas are preferred: energy engineering, thermal engineering, and chemical engineering. Experiences in biomass energy and process simulations are desirable.

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