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Renewable hydrogen production using molten-salt membranes (ReNUH2) (Ref: Renu20-02)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 31, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU) is a collaborative doctoral training programme run by the Universities of Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham. In addition to undertaking an individual scientific research project at one of the three partner Universities, doctoral candidates will engage with added value training opportunities, for example in business, innovation and internationalisation through a 4-year training programme that has been designed to maximise the benefits of a cohort approach to doctoral training. The start date is 1st October 2020.

Hydrogen (H2) is an increasingly important energy vector, however >90% of H2 comes from thermochemical conversion of fossil fuels. To transition to a renewable H2 economy, biomass-derived H2 will become necessary. Coupled with carbon dioxide (CO2) separation, biomass-derived H2 production can result in net negative CO2 emissions (with the CO2 emissions from the energy input for the thermochemical process captured by future biomass, and CO2 by-products in the thermochemical transformation captured and stored). However, new materials for energy-efficient separation must be found. Membranes offer such energy-penalty free separation compared to traditional approaches.

Our current research is related to supported molten-salt membranes for high-temperature CO2 separation. However, we must now test these membranes in conditions relevant to biomass-derived H2 production. This project will involve ceramic membrane synthesis, permeation testing in H2 production conditions, and mechanistic development using in-situ FTIR spectroscopy, as well as complimentary spectroscopic, computational and diffraction techniques. By exploring the potential of membranes in H2 production, the successful candidate will be ideally positioned to become a future leader in industry or academia at the cutting-edge of separation science. The successful candidate will be co-supervised across three academic and industrial institutions, representing a multi-disciplinary and multi-scale cooperative approach.

This project is supervised by Dr Greg Mutch. For enquiries about the project, please contact .

How to apply:
Applicant should include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words and include the advert reference number.

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system at https://www.ncl.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/. You will need to:
• Insert the programme code 8208F in the programme of study section
• Select PhD Energy Materials as the programme of study
• Insert the advert reference number (e.g. renu20-02) in the studentship/partnership reference field
• Attach a covering letter and CV, quote code (e.g. renu20-02), 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.

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 1st Class (Hons) or 2:1; or a Masters (preference for Merit or above) in an appropriate subject area.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Newcastle University of elsewhere.

Funding Notes

The studentship covers full Home fees and an annual stipend at UKRI rates (for 2019/20, this was £15,009 pa). Also significant additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges).

Please note that the scholarship award is set at the Home/EU level of fees. Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award. Note that up to 4 offers of a PhD place will be made for the ReNU CDT projects advertised by Newcastle University.

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