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Novel biosynthetic fuel development: An approach on fuel design (Advert Reference: SF18/MCE/AZIMOV)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

The aim of this project is to experimentally design novel biosynthetic fuels and investigate their stability, combustion, and emission characteristics and their effects on regulated, unregulated and GHG emissions in order to improve the engine performance and achieve complex reduction in exhaust gas emissions. This research will make an important contribution towards the development of advanced low-carbon fuels and engines.

In this project, the design properties, property targets, and acceptable tolerances on meeting the required fuel physical and chemical properties will be established. The main design properties selected for this study will be fuel composition, ignition quality, volatility, and density. These are selected in an attempt to match the engine in-cylinder vaporization, mixing, and combustion processes of the target fuel, with the understanding that there is no guarantee that matching these design properties will produce identical engine emissions or performance. Other design properties such as surrogate fuel cost, mean molecular weight, C/H ratio, lower heating value, and threshold sooting index will also be analysed.

13C (carbon) and 1H (proton) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and GCxGC-FID will be used to quantify the compositional characteristics of each target biosynthetic fuels. The per-atom data are expected to correlate better with engine emissions characteristics (e.g., sooting propensity) than the per-molecule data because of better resolution of the carbon bond types within each molecule.

The description of the biosynthetic fuel physical and chemical properties will be presented for different fuel concentrations, temperature, as well as the effect of additives on fuel miscibility and stability. The experiments will be conducted in a fully instrumented engine test cell with research single cylinder engine, multicylinder commercial engine and FTIR gas analyser to analyse the engine performance and exhaust gas emissions.

Please note eligibility requirement:

* Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]) in Mechanical or Chemical Engineering; or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
* Appropriate IELTS score, if required

This project is well suited to motivated and hard-working candidates with a keen interest in novel renewable fuels and future low-carbon propulsion. The applicant should have excellent communication skills including proven ability to write in English.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF18/MCE/AZIMOV) will not be considered.

Start Date: 1 March 2019 or 1 June 2019 or 1 October 2019

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University hold an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Funding Notes

This is an unfunded research project


1. O. Adeniyi, U. Azimov, A. Burluka. Algae biofuel: Current status and future applications. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol.90, 2018, pp. 316-335

2. U. Azimov, N. Stylianidis, E. Tomita, N. Kawahara. Characterisation of DME-HCCI combustion cycles for formaldehyde and hydroxyl UV–vis absorption. Fuel, Vol.210, 2017, pp. 578-591.

3. N. Stylianidis, U. Azimov, E. Tomita, N.Kawahara. Chemical Kinetics and Computational Fluid-Dynamics Analysis of H2/CO/CO2/CH4 Syngas Combustion and NOx Formation in a Micro-Pilot-Ignited Supercharged Dual Fuel Engine. SAE Paper 2017-24-0027.

4. N. Stylianidis, U. Azimov, A. Maheri, E. Tomita, N.Kawahara. Chemical kinetics and CFD analysis of supercharged micro-pilot ignited dual-fuel engine combustion of syngas. Fuel, Vol.203, 2017, pp. 591-606.

5. U. Azimov, N. Kawahara, E. Tomita. Quantum Cascade Laser Assisted Time-resolved Measurements of Carbon Dioxide Absorption During Combustion in DME-HCCI Engine. Fuel, Vol.182, 2016, pp. 807-815.

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