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PhD Studentship - Computational reactor design for methanol production

School of Engineering

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Monday 31 August 2020
Reference:  1253620DA

Supervisor:                 Dr Lindsay-Marie Armstrong

Co-supervisor             Dr Matthew Potter

Project description

Carbon capture and utilization (CCU) is attracting increasing attention as a sustainable, recyclable and synthetic “drop-in” alternative to the use of fossil fuels, particularly across the transportation sector. Chemical energy stored in the form of hydrocarbons that are derived from CO2 and H2O have very high energy density, are pure refined products and can thus be conveniently transported to point of use via the existing global multi-trillion dollar petroleum infrastructure. This allows CO2 to be directly transformed from a detrimental greenhouse gas into a valuable and continuously renewable “closed-loop” carbon source for conversion to environmentally neutral hydrocarbon fuels and organic products. Nevertheless, their production remains an outstanding challenge.

Advanced computational modelling can assist with designing a reactor that extracts the CO2 at reduced operational costs than existing post-combustion systems. A deeper level of understanding is required at the lab-scale in terms of species conversion for a range of physical and operational parametric variations. Experimental investigations will inform and validate advancements in the computational model. Reactor and operational optimisation will promote chemical conversions and maximise methanol production.

The project will develop advanced computational models of CO­conversion into methanol. Multiphase reactor modelling will investigate reactor performance with direct validation with a lab-scale reactor at Southampton. This project will require someone with a strong mathematical and/or chemical engineering background. Experience with computational fluid dynamics is essential. Ideally, the applicant would have coding experience, ideally with computational fluid dynamics open source packages such as OpenFOAM.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Lindsay-Marie Armstrong, Energy Technology research group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 4760.

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2020 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: full tuition fees for EU/UK students plus for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £15,285 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

How To Apply

Applications should be made online, please select the academic session 2020-21 “PhD Eng & Env (Full time)” as the programme. Please enter Lindsay-Marie Armstrong under the proposed supervisor.

Applications should include

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

For further information please contact: 

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