The increase in global temperature due to the “greenhouse effect” has led to extensive efforts to reduce CO2 emissions around the world. Hydrogen economy has been envisaged as the ultimate solution to this carbon conundrum because hydrogen is an efficient energy carrier and only produces water as a by-product. Large scale hydrogen production without fossil fuel consumption is the key to achieving hydrogen economy. Hydrogen production from non-fossil fuel includes water electrolysis, thermoelectrical cycles and photoelectrical catalysis processes. All these face challenging cost and technical barriers for example the corrosive electrolytes at high temperatures.
This project will investigate a novel method of hydrogen production from water vapour, by using a thermoelectric (TE) enhanced solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC). This method is potentially simpler because it negates technical challenges of other techniques as the method does not involve corrosive solutions. It will also be more cost effective as it can utilise waste heat. If successful this technology will help to provide a long term and effective solution to the world’s current energy and environmental problems.
The project objectives will be to: 1) Preparation and characterization of high temperature thermoelectric materials; 2) Review and analysis of high temperature electrolysis of water splitting; 3) Preparation and characterization of TE enhanced SOEC; 4) Water vapor splitting using integrated TE/SOEC device.
The candidate will be based at the Surface Engineering and Manufacturing Centre, which provides state-of-the-art equipment for the manufacture, analysis and characterisation of materials, either as coatings or nano-particulates. The Centre also houses a biosensors/sensors laboratory comprising of optical, acoustic and several electrochemical sensing platforms.
This is a self-funded PhD open to UK, EU and international applicants.
This project is part of the effort to develop a novel technology which can combine thermoelectric energy harvesting and catalytic chemical reaction, so that those difficult chemical processes can be carried out with better efficiency and at lower cost.
The candidate will work in a multidisciplinary environment consisting of material chemists, engineers, physicists, biologists and clinicians. During the PhD, the candidate will gain the invaluable experience of working at the intersection of several research fields with the challenges and opportunities that this represents. On addition, this self-funded PhD project includes the ability to participate in industry-led research initiatives and access to the Cranfield Doctoral Training Network.
At the end of the PhD, the candidate will have become a well-rounded independent scientist with the possibility to progress his/her career either in academia or industry in several research areas from material chemistry and physics, engineering, and sustainable energy and environment.
Candidates should have a minimum of an upper second (2:1) honours degree (or equivalent) preferably in one of the following disciplines: Material science/Physics/Chemistry/ Nanotechnology or related fields. Candidates with a MSc degree in these disciplines will be desirable.
Self-funded PhD opportunity open to UK, EU and international students.
Cranfield Doctoral Network
Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.
How to apply
If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship please complete the online application form.