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PhD in Non-thermal Plasma Methods for Sustainable Catalysis


   Department of Chemical Engineering & Analytical Science

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  Prof C Hardacre  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 will be part of a large collaborative 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 will study 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 infra red spectroscopy and DFT simulations.

The PhD student will have a co-supervisor from Cardiff University and two industrial mentors and will have the opportunity to visit the partners’ industrial sites. PhDs will participate in quarterly meetings with the industrial partners and biannual meetings with all the project researchers. The project aims are fundamental and we expect to publish high impact outputs in world leading journals after industrial review. There will be opportunities to undertake experiments at national and international facilities and to present your work at international conferences. The project will be part of bp International Centre for Advanced Materials (bp-ICAM) community and students will receive training through the Integrated Catalysis (iCAT) CDT at Manchester.

Applicants should have a good degree in Physical Sciences, Engineering or equivalent experience. Applicants should submit a CV, a brief statement of research interests, and the names of two referees by e-mail to [Email Address Removed].

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).

All appointments are made on merit.


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 July 2022 and applications will be considered until the position is filled.
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