PhD Student Project: Development of Consolidated Composites for High-performance Modular Thermochemical Energy Storage Systems

University of Birmingham

Supervisors: Dr Adriano Sciacovelli and Prof Yulong Ding

Funding: University Scholarship covering tuition fees and stipend at EPSRC rates (£14553.00 pa) for UK or EU students only.

This project is an exciting research opportunity for a motivated student to join the Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage (BCES), School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham. The Centre has a strong record in fundamental and applied research in thermal energy storage, conversion, transportation, renewable energy systems and next generation technologies for energy demand reduction.

This project will systematically investigate new thermochemical energy storage concepts for long duration heat and cold storage using consolidated composite materials (salt hydrates, hydroxides, zeolites, etc) embedded into efficient storage devices (open, close, cascade, etc.). The advancement of these new storage technologies requires both fundamental and system engineering challenges to be overcome. The candidate will address the development and integration of these thermochemical storage concepts for a variety of heat sources to (i) increase the penetration of renewable heat, (ii) harness waste heat and (iii) increase energy system efficiency.

The researcher will:

  • Formulate and experimentally characterize thermochemical storage composite materials (TCS) comprising an active material, a structural material and a enhancer of transport properties (heat transport and diffusion);
  • Design, operate and experimentally evaluate the performance of a pilot thermal storage device comprising the thermochemical storage composite materials;
  • Develop thermodynamic models to allow the analysis and optimization of the selected thermochemical storage technology and its integration with demand and supply of heat;
  • Advance the scientific understanding of thermochemical storage technology by bring new fundamental insight into transport phenomena at material, device and system scales.

During this exciting cross-disciplinary project the student will acquire unique expertise and unique skills through close contact with academic collaborators. The candidate will receive extensive training on energy storage materials, thermodynamics modeling and heat and mass transfer. During this PhD the candidate is expected to disseminate the research outcomes at national and international conferences, review meetings and publish in high quality peer reviewed journals.

PhD candidate specification:

We are looking for creative and motivated applicants with First or Upper Second degree (or equivalent) in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering or energy engineering with good English communication skills. Strong background in engineering thermodynamics and energy systems is required. Basic knowledge in thermal energy storage and MATLAB/Simulink will be beneficial.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Adriano Sciacovelli (Email:

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Midlands of England