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Modelling and Experiment of Multiphase Turbulent Heat Transfer Analysis in a Liquid-Piston Air Compressor/Expander: Application to Compressed-Air Energy Storage Systems

   Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering

  Dr Yasser Mahmoudi Larimi, Prof Alexander Lanzon  Monday, November 15, 2021  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Manchester United Kingdom Applied Mathematics Chemical Engineering Energy Technologies Fluid Mechanics Mechanical Engineering Petroleum Engineering Thermodynamics

About the Project


It is expected that the UK will generate about 80% of the required power from renewable sources in order to achieve the target of net zero greenhouse gases by 2050. However, the intermittent nature these renewable sources presents a great challenge in energy generation and load balance maintenance to ensure power network stability and reliability. For instance, during lockdown of COVID-19 pandemic in April-May 2020, the UK’s energy demand hit a record of 20% drop compared to the previous year in 2019, since many large energy consumers were closed and strong wind and solar outputs hit the grid. This has further highlighted the need for electricity storage technologies to balance supply and demand and to cope with the intermittent renewable generation. To achieve a reliable electrical grid, there is an increasing need for grid-scale energy storage, which can be used to mitigate the intermittency of these sources and balance between power generation and demand.

Adiabatic compressed air energy storage (ACAES) is such a technology, which is capable of providing large-scale energy storage. Currently, there are no commercially available A-CAES products on the market, although, there are numerous pilot-scale A-CAES projects in the early stage of experimental study, reflecting the promising role that A-CAES technology can play in future energy system.


This 3.5 years PhD project aims at CFD and experimental analysis of heat transfer enhancement in a micro-scale compressed air energy storage system, with a liquid piston air compressor/expander (LPGC/E-see Figures below). Furthermore, the economic and environmental characteristics of these systems under transient load will be analysed through a combination of thermodynamic, technoeconomic and environmental analyses. This is a cross-disciplinary project between the Department of Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE) and Electrical Engineering (EEE) at the University of Manchester. The student will be based in the Department of MACE.

Applicants must have an undergraduate or Master’s degree with a background in Mechanical, Chemical, Aerospace Engineering, Physics, Applied Mathematics, or a related discipline. Applicants with an interest in thermodynamics, experimental heat transfer will be considered. Experience in using CFD software such as Fluent and OpenFoam is an advantage.  

Please contact Dr Mahmoudi Larimi () with any expressions of interest or informal queries regarding the research project. Information about the application process can be found at and the admissions team can be contacted at with any questions about this.

As an equal opportunities employer, we welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons. As the Department is committed to the principles of the Race Equality Charter Mark and Athena SWAN, we would particularly welcome applications from women and the black and minority ethnic (BME) community, who are both currently under-represented at this grade. All appointments will be made on merit.

Funding Notes

Funding is provided by the School of Engineering in support of this PhD. This is a 3.5 year studentship that will to cover tuition fees at the Home rate and provide a tax-free stipend at the standard UKRI rate (£15,609 in the 2021-22 academic session). EU students who hold either settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme and meet the residency requirement to be assessed as liable for Home fees are welcome to apply.

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