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PhD in Chemical Engineering - Advancing facilitated-transport membranes for disruptive carbon dioxide separation

School of Engineering

About the Project

Number of awards:
Start date and duration:
1 January 2020 for 3.5 years.

Separation processes account for 10-15% of global energy use. To meet the demands of a low-carbon, net-zero future, separation processes must evolve to become more sustainable, economical and energy-efficient. In principle, membranes can achieve this if they are designed to offer high throughput and high selectivity with long operational lifetimes.

Our current work is related to supported molten-salt membranes (!divAbstract), which we recently demonstrated can surpass the targets for economically-competitive membrane CO2 capture (!divAbstract). By further exploring these membranes we believe we can enable exciting new opportunities in e.g. hydrogen production and direct air capture of CO2. Doing so, the successful candidate will be positioned to become a future leader in industry or academia at the cutting-edge of separation science.

The project will involve the design and synthesis of new high-temperature ceramic membranes and permeation testing in our world-leading gas separation laboratory. In our laboratory and through our extensive collaborative network, the candidate can access innovative characterisation and computational approaches to support their work, including e.g. X-ray computed tomography, density functional theory calculations and in-situ spectroscopic and diffraction methods.

Our research group ( is pioneering, well-funded and active in key UK research consortia (e,g, SynFabFun (, CAM-IES (, and H2FC SUPERGEN ( We regularly present at leading international conferences and publish in top journals. The successful candidate will be supervised by a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow (Dr Greg Mutch) and a Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies (Professor Ian Metcalfe), together representing a supervisory team with the capability to propel the successful candidate towards a career as a future leader.

EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (

Name of supervisor(s):
Dr Greg A Mutch, Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow ( and Professor Ian S Metcalfe (, Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies, School of Engineering (, Newcastle University (

Eligibility Criteria:
You should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or international equivalent, in Chemical Engineering or closely related discipline (e.g. Chemistry). You should be passionate about research and be able to use your initiative to drive your own project forwards while contributing to the goals of the research group.

How to apply:
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’. (

All relevant fields should be completed, but fields marked with a red asterisk must to be completed. The following information will help us to process your application. You will need to:

insert the programme code 8030F in the programme of study section
select ‘PhD Chemical Engineering (full time) – Chemical Engineering’ as the programme of study
insert the studentship code eng076 in the studentship/partnership reference field
attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code eng076 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications

You should also email your covering letter and CV to Dr Greg Mutch (

Funding Notes

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £15,285.

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