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Optimising the thermal energy transfer from a pulsed fusion reactor and recovery of waste heat for power generation efficiency gains

Department of Chemical Engineering

London United Kingdom Applied Mathematics Chemical Engineering Chemical Physics Computer Science

About the Project



The Department of Chemical Engineering at University College London (UCL) is seeking an enthusiastic Graduate Student to work on modelling, designing, and optimizing the heat management system for a fusion based electrical energy generation system. The appointment is for 3.5 years. The candidate is expected to carry out research pertaining to the doctoral project, present her/his work in local and international meetings, as well as taking part in the academic activities of the Product and Process Systems Engineering (PPSE) group, the Roger Sargent Centre for Process Systems Engineering (CPSE, a joint centre between UCL and Imperial College London), and of the Department.


This studentship is focussed on the application and development of process systems engineering methods, including modelling, simulation, and optimization, to investigate the means of converting thermal energy produced from a fusion reactor into electricity. A focal point of the research will be maintaining the highest possible turbine inlet temperatures whilst maximizing the efficiency of the thermal conversion process and gaining an understanding of the dynamics of the process. Another key point of investigation will be the waste heat recovery and utilisation. The PhD project is partially funded by, and is in collaboration with the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.

As the power generation cycle for fusion power plants has not yet been confirmed, the project will be investigating a number of alternative processes, including but not necessarily limited to the steam Rankine cycle, the supercritical carbon dioxide (SCO2) cycle, the helium Brayton cycle, and the nitrogen Brayton cycle. Thermodynamic models will be developed and used for the design of alternative processes, using advanced nonlinear dynamic optimization codes to identify the most promising designs and provide recommendations on the most suitable combinations of power cycles and thermal management systems for a fusion power plant for appropriate power generation cycles.

Model based design through computer based optimization tools is a key aspect of this project.




The candidate will have or is expected to soon obtain an excellent first degree in Chemical Engineering, Physics, Computational Science, Mathematics, or an associated discipline. Prior research experience, together with the ability to analyse, develop and solve open-ended research problems is essential. Desirable qualifications include knowledge of modelling, simulation, optimization, programming, and UNIX-based operative systems.




Please note that due to funding restrictions the post is open to UK/EU citizens only.

If you have any queries regarding the vacancy, please contact Professor Eric Fraga, ()

The successful candidate is expected to start in 1 June 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

To apply, please submit an application through the following link (specifying Eric Fraga as supervisor and including a statement of interest):

Funding Notes

Stipend £17,285 per annum + UK/EU fees

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