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The sustainability of hydrogen production for future energy uses


   Chemical Engineering

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  Dr P Hewitson, Dr C Axon  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Hydrogen is being promoted as a potentially low-carbon fuel for use in both transport and electricity generation. There are many routes and processes by which hydrogen can be produced, but are any of them sustainable? Sustainability is measured using a set of benchmarks (indicators) to compare changes in the values of variables (metrics).

Using the Process Analysis Method (PAM) this project will generate a set of indicators and metrics grouped as environmental, economic, and human/social in accordance with the Bruntland report. The PAM is a flexible, transparent, robust, and data-driven approach to designing and developing indicator sets. Previously, the PAM has been used to examine the sustainability of cars, water processing, chemical production, and river systems.

The aim is to create a generic set of indicators applicable to any airport to allow comparisons, though it will be necessary to use a single nation as a case study. Applicants will have or be expected to receive a first or upper‐second class honours degree in Engineering, Environmental Science, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics or a similar discipline.

A Postgraduate Masters degree is not required but may be an advantage. Experience in sustainability, environmental management, or energy systems is not essential, however, it may be an advantage. In addition, applicants should be highly motivated, able to work in a team and independently, collaborate with others and have good communication skills. 

Research journey

Doctoral research programmes (PhDs) take a proud place in the world-class research environment and community at Brunel. PhD students are recognised and valued by their supervisors as an essential part of their departments and a key component of the university's overall strategy to develop and deliver world-class research.

A PhD programme is expected to take 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, with intakes starting in January, April or October.

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1) or an international equivalent. A Masters degree is a welcome, but not required, qualification for entry.

Find out how to apply for a PhD at Brunel

Research support

Excellent research support and training

The Graduate School provides a range of personal, professional and career development opportunities. This includes workshops, online training, coaching and events, to enable you to enhance your professional profile, refine your skills, and plan your next career steps as part of the Researcher Development Programme. The researcher development programme (RDP) offers workshops and seminars in a range of areas including progression, research management, research dissemination, and careers and personal development. You will also be offered a number of online, self-study courses on BBL, including Research Integrity, Research Skills Toolkit, Research Methods in Literature Review and Principles of Research Methods.

Library services

Brunel's Library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 ebooks, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs. As well as the physical resources available in the Library, we also provide access to a wealth of electronic resources. These include databases, journals and e-books. Access to these resources has been bought by the Library through subscription and is limited to current staff and students. 

Dedicated research support staff provide guidance and training on open access, research data management, copyright and other research integrity issues.

Find out more: Brunel Library

Careers support

You will receive tailored careers support during your PhD and for up to three years after you complete your research at Brunel. We encourage you to actively engage in career planning and managing your personal development right from the start of your research, even (or perhaps especially) if you don't yet have a career path in mind. Our careers provision includes online information and advice, one-to-one consultations and a range of events and workshops. The Professional Development Centre runs a varied programme of careers events throughout the academic year. These include industry insight sessions, recruitment fairs, employer pop-ups and skills workshops.


Funding Notes

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.
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