PhD Studentship: Formation of Corrosive Compounds from Biomass Waste Combustion

Cranfield University

Start Date: 6th Feb 2018
Duration of award: 3 years


Dr. Joy Sumner
Dr. Nigel Simms

Sponsored by the Biomass and Fossil Fuel Research Alliance and Cranfield University’s Industrial Partnership PhD Scholarship, this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £18,000 p.a. (tax free) plus fees* for three years

Applications are invited for this PhD from highly motivated and enthusiastic individuals with a keen interest in high temperature materials and power plants. This timely project focuses on modelling the changing corrosion environment resulting from using different fuel stocks to help meet the energy sector’s current ‘trilemma’ (delivering energy to the end user at low cost, with good fuel security and minimal environmental impact). Throughout the 3 year project, the involvement of Doosan Babcock (and, more broadly, the BF2RA network) will ensure that industrial interests are addressed.

The use of low carbon fuels, such as biomass and waste, are encouraged within power plants (either as 100% of the solid fuel, or through co-firing) as a way of reducing the environmental impact. However, they contain different chemical species to coals (especially much higher Cl/S ratios and high levels of releasable metallic species, e.g. K, Ca, Zn, etc). With increasing uptake of biomass/waste firing/co-firing, it is becoming vital to study the many potentially corrosive chemical species evolved in such combustion environments.

The fundamental research challenge for this PhD is to assess the formation and impact of corrosive compounds from alternative solid fuels (biomasses/wastes) in power plants and to compare them to conventional fossil fuels (such as coal). This will be achieved through a combination of experimental and modelling activities.

Further details of the research include:

• Development of improved understanding of fuel and deposit contaminant behaviour
• Improved models for prediction of deposit formation
• Fireside corrosion testing focussing on comparing novel and conventional test parameters
• Evaluation of the reasons for the differences between laboratory testing and plant data
• Development of improved fireside corrosion models encompassing both laboratory- and plant-derived data

Research relating to the experimental testing and model development will be student-led under the guidance of academic and industrial supervisors. The student will work with a range of other researchers at Cranfield University.

The project is part-funded by the Biomass and Fossil Fuel Research Alliance (BF2RA) and so will have close ties to industrial companies interested in the application of the technology (e.g. Doosan Babcock). By the end of their PhD, the successful student will be expected to have presented data to review meetings, disseminated their results at international conferences, and published papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline, such as chemical engineering, chemistry, materials science, or engineering.


* To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be a UK or EU national

How to apply:

For further information please contact: Dr. Joy Sumner, E:; T: (0) 1234 750111 Ext: 2815

If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship, please complete the online application form

For further information contact us today:


T: +44 (0)1234 758082

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