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Methane Sensing for Greenhouse Gas Reduction in Smart Agriculture

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  • Full or part time
    Prof C Michie
    Dr M Lengden
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

There is currently significant media coverage and global concern over the increased emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) caused by the agricultural industry, specifically from enteric emission generated by animal production. The industry itself has identified the requirement to improve animal production efficiency to maintain its competitiveness in the food production market. This requires a step-change in working practice and a move towards ‘smart agriculture’, which implies the deployment of gas sensing technologies to monitor the emissions of enteric GHGs.

The Centre for Microsystems and Photonics at the University of Strathclyde has developed a number of gas sensing technologies that operate in industrial environments, such as in combustion diagnostics and fuel cell research. These include the use of wavelength modulation spectroscopy, cavity ring-down spectroscopy, non-dispersive infra-red sensing and photo-acoustic spectroscopy. Each of these technologies has advantages and disadvantages when they are considered for translation into an agricultural environment, specifically in the trade-off between sensitivity and robustness.

In this project, the student will investigate the use of each of these technologies for application in the agricultural sector, specifically to monitor methane emission from cattle. This will include the design and manufacture of suitable sensor systems, the development of embedded software to monitor and control devices, and the implementation of suitable signal processing and calibration techniques to provide quantifiable measurements of methane emissions in a number of agricultural settings. This work will involve the deployment of these sensors at the Scottish Rural College, in both an in-house research environment and on free-roaming cattle, and comparative studies with the current state-of-the art sensor systems e.g ion mass flow spectroscopy. It is envisaged that the results from this project will lead to significant further research to support the analysis of the nutrient efficiency of cattle and the effect of feed additives. Such additives can lead to significant reductions in methane emissions but run the risk of causing rumen dysfunction which will impair nutrient efficiency.

Funding Notes

Entry requirements:
Funding for this project is available to UK students or European students. The project is for 3 years with an annual tax-free stipend of around £15,300 available to the successful candidates.

How good is research at University of Strathclyde in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 59.20

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

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