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Non-thermal plasma methods for Sustainable Catalysis

   Department of Chemical Engineering

   Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Catalysis is a key technology for multiple industries and will play a critical role to achieve net zero ambitions. In 2020 bp set a goal of being a net zero company by 2050 or sooner and helping the world get to net zero. Similarly, JM has a sustainability framework that includes reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2025.

This PhD position is part of an EPSRC Prosperity Partnership project between Cardiff University, The University of Manchester, bp and Johnson Matthey, co-funded by EPSRC and industry. The aim of the project is to develop a platform of new sustainable catalyst technologies that will enable clean growth and a low carbon future. This wide collaborative project is studying several catalytic systems (including homogeneous, heterogeneous, biocatalysis, electrocatalysis and plasma catalysis) employing a range of computational and characterisation techniques to develop a fundamental understanding of catalytic mechanisms for the conversion of small bio-based molecules and CO2 into value added chemicals and fuels.

The aim of this PhD research project is to investigate the application of non-thermal plasma catalysis on the conversion of CO2 and H2O into oxygenates and C2+ hydrocarbons. Specifically, the project will focus on understanding the mechanism of the plasma activated reaction of CO2+H2O using in-situ infrared spectroscopy and structural techniques including electron microscopy and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. 

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a good degree in Physical Sciences, Engineering or equivalent experience.

Application Information

You MUST make contact with the lead project supervisor before submitting an application. Applicants should submit a CV, a brief statement of research interests, and the names of two referees by e-mail to Prof Hardacre - .

Information about the application process and a link to the online application form can be found at When completing the application include the name of the lead project supervisor as the potential supervisor.

Enquiries about this project can be sent to Prof Hardacre - as the lead project supervisor. The Admissions Team in Chemical Engineering can be contacted at  with any queries you may have regarding the application process.

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact. We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder).

Funding Notes

Applications are invited for a fully-funded 4-year studentship covering stipend and fees. International applicants will be considered. The PhD student can start from April 2023 and applications will be considered until the position is filled.

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