FindA University Ltd Featured PhD Programmes
FindA University Ltd Featured PhD Programmes
FindA University Ltd Featured PhD Programmes

PhD in the feasibility of a variety of future diesel fuels

Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Dr P Hellier No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Over the coming decades the global vehicle fleet will be forced to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions; for most light-duty applications it seems that partial or full electrification is the most likely route to enable this. In the case of heavy-duty applications, particularly long-distance freight which is set to continue its growth in the future, electrification is far more challenging meaning that these operations will continue to rely upon the combustion engine and a liquid or gaseous fuel for far longer. Therefore, a significant opportunity exists to sustainably de-carbonise this growing segment of transportation through the use of low-carbon fuels, either advanced biofuels or synthetic power-to-liquid/gas (i.e. e-fuels utilising renewably generated energy) or combinations of them. To add further complexity, this move to a low-carbon future must be achieved whilst ensuring that local air-quality and public health is not adversely impacted. This project will therefore aim to experimentally investigate a range of sustainable low-carbon fuels for heavy-duty engines, working in partnership with BP International Ltd

UCL Mechanical Energy has a long history of undertaking cutting edge research in fuels and engines, and in recent years has focused on the development of sustainable low emission fuels. The recently refurbished laboratories of the vibrant Engines and Fuels research group feature specialist research engines for the combustion of prototype fuels and comprehensive emissions analysis equipment. During the course of the PhD project, the successful candidate will undertake experimental investigations with a variety of prototype fuels using a heavy-duty diesel research engine, and will gain experience and skills in performing combustion and emissions experiments, analysing and interpreting heat release and emissions data, and potential further chemical characterisation of exhaust particulate matter. The successful candidate will benefit from the input of an industrial supervisor at BP International Ltd, and regular opportunities to discuss results and project direction with expert technologists in the field of fuels and energy. Furthermore, during the course of the project there will be opportunities to participate in unique cross-disciplinary collaborations, publish work in leading peer-reviewed journal papers and present findings at high-profile UK and international conferences.

Person specification:

Applicants should have a background in a relevant engineering or life sciences discipline (Biochemical Engineering, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering), and should have a strong interest in devising engineering solutions to the provision of sustainable energy in the transport sector.

Closing Date and Start Date:

We will be continuously having informal discussion with interested candidates until this position is filled, with an intended start date of 5th October 2020.

Value of award:

Full tuition fees for UK/EU students and stipend of £17,432 per annum (for 4 years).


Applicants will normally be required to hold a first or upper-second class UK Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate subject, or a recognised taught Master’s degree. Overseas qualifications of an equivalent standard from a recognised higher education institution are also accepted. Applicants should also meet the EPSRC student eligibility requirements described at the following link:
Application Procedure: Eligible applicants should contact Dr. Paul Hellier ([Email Address Removed]) for an informal discussion before applying. Please attach your current CV and a transcript of your degree level exam results (listing all subjects taken and their corresponding grades/marks) and a cover letter stating how the project meets your research interests.
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