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PhD Studentship - A combined CFD and catalytic approach for H2 generation and CO2 utilisation

School of Engineering

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Wednesday 31 August 2022
Reference:  1660122DA

Supervisory Team:    Dr Lindsay-Marie Armstrong; Professor Robert Raja

Project description

The UK’s decarbonisation plans anticipate pivotal roles for both green hydrogen (H2) and carbon, capture utilization and storage (CCUS) enabled ‘blue’ H2 from carbon intensive processes. Blue H­2 is a critical transition for many industrial clusters where CO2 transport, and storage infrastructures are emerging, yet some clusters lack available geological storage. Upgrading CO2 into useful chemical products offers financial and energetic incentives over CCS and recognized a global role for CO2-derived products by the IEA. 

Electrochemical manufacturing processes to produce epoxides (ethylene oxide and butylene oxide) can be tailored for the generation of H2. Furthermore, these epoxides can be advantageously used as a chemical intermediate for the manufacture of polyols through copolymerization with CO2. Currently these processes are driven solely using fossil-fuel derivatives, which also lead to the generation of large volumes of greenhouse gases. Therefore, designing novel electrochemical routes to produce green H2, whilst simultaneously incorporating CO2 utilisation to form valuable products, could play a major role in decarbonisation and realisation of net zero initiatives. The impact of this system would be significant as it would not only enhance H2 production but also generate economic incentives for the captured CO2 from blue H2 processes. 

This is a multi-disciplinary project involving the Schools of Engineering and Chemistry at the University of Southampton that will integrate electrochemical solutions with advanced catalytic chemistry to provide a distinct option for generating renewable H2, alongside unique CO2 utilisation strategies that will lead to significant decarbonisation efforts in polymer and bulk chemical manufacture. Crucially, this single catalytic platform offers a sustainable solution for mitigating or eliminating greenhouse gas emissions, through disruptive electrochemical and catalytic solutions, to ensure high CO2 insertion efficiencies, with simultaneous prospects for green H2 generation. It will play a critical role for many industries, including hard-to-decarbonisation industries such as international shipping.

This project will involve a combination of experimental chemical investigations and multiphase catalytic modelling approaches. The student undertaking this project will engage with our world-leading Chemistry facilities, access and enhance existing reactive multiphase models and work alongside a leading and established interdisciplinary team. The insights gained from this project will afford wider scope for optimising the derivation of green H2 production and CO2-based value-added products.

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 2022 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Lindsay-Marie Armstrong School of Engineering, Email: L.Armstrong@soton.ac.uk, and Prof Robert Raja, School of Chemistry, E-mail: R.Raja@soton.ac.uk, 

How To Apply

Applications should be made online. Select programme type (Research), 2022/23, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD  Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor  Lindsay-Marie Armstrong 

Applications should include

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/how-to-apply/postgraduate-applications.page

For further information please contact: feps-pgr-apply@soton.ac.uk 

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