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Recovery of Reactive Nitrogen Molecules Using Adsorption Processes

School of Engineering

About the Project

A PhD Studentship is available as part of the UKRI GCRF South Asian Nitrogen Hub. This multidisciplinary Hub ( is formed by 32 leading research organisations and is aimed at tackling the impact of emissions of reactive nitrogen molecules in South Asia. As part of this effort, this PhD opportunity is linked to the objective to develop novel solutions based on adsorption separation processes for the recovery of reactive nitrogen (for example ammonia and, NOX) from dilute streams.  

One of the major challenges that the Hub intends to tackle is reducing emissions and closing the loop in the manufacture of fertilizers. The current approach when treating emissions is to reduce reactive nitrogen molecules to molecular N2. This is then reactivated to ammonia and then urea as part of the production of fertilizers or oxidized in the production of nitric acid.  

To be able to assess the feasibility of the recovery of reactive nitrogen molecules from dilute gaseous streams it is necessary to identify suitable processes and provide initial estimates for costs. Adsorption processes are clear candidates for the initial stage of recovery from very dilute conditions, but there are limited datasets in the literature that include equilibrium and kinetic information needed to design such processes. Therefore, the work will include experimental measurements using primarily zero-length-column systems followed by process modelling of temperature swing adsorption units to concentrate the molecules of interest from ppm level to at least 1-5% by volume. Materials to be tested will include commercial samples and zeolites developed by our Hub partners at KIIT in India.

A particular focus of this project will be the co-production of potable water from the gaseous streams to be treated. Water harvesting will be of fundamental importance in arid regions and will provide an additional product stream that may improve the economics of the recovery systems.


Please note, the position will be filled once a suitable candidate has been identified


Brandani S. and Mangano E. The Zero Length Column Technique to Measure Adsorption Equilibrium and Kinetics: Lessons Learnt from 30 Years of Experience. Adsorption, 2020
Centineo A. and Brandani S. Measurement of Water Vapor Adsorption Isotherms in Mesoporous Materials Using the Zero Length Column Technique. Chem. Eng. Sci.
Gibson J.A.A., Mangano E., Shiko E., Greenaway A.G., Gromov A.V., Lozinska M.M., Friedrich D., Campbell E.E.B., Wright P.A. and Brandani S. Adsorption Materials and Processes for Carbon Capture from Gas-Fired Power Plants- AMPGas, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2016, 55, 3840−3851.

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