PhD Studentship: Achieving A Sustainable Future Through Green Ammonia: Modelling And Optimisation Of Future Supply Chains In The UK

University of Bath - Department of Chemical Engineering

Supervisor: Dr Sheila Samsatli

Ammonia is considered one of the most important chemicals – being the main source of nitrogen for most chemical fertilisers it underpins global food production. It is also a precursor for many nitrogenous commodity chemicals and a potential energy carrier that is easier to store and transport than electricity and hydrogen. 

Ammonia is normally produced using the Haber-Bosch process, which reacts nitrogen and hydrogen at high temperature and pressure over a catalyst. Due to the energy intensive Haber-Bosch process and the fossil fuel-sourced hydrogen, ammonia production is a major contributor to global warming and accounts for roughly 2% of global CO2 emissions.

A greener alternative is to use renewable energy both for the production of hydrogen and to provide the high temperature and pressure conditions for the Haber-Bosch process. There is a huge opportunity for the UK to produce green ammonia to satisfy its own demands as well as to become a major supplier globally, making a significant contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The project will examine the conventional ammonia supply chains in the UK, will identify what demands there are for ammonia in different regions of the UK and review the state-of-the-art in ammonia production. You will also examine the future supply chains for green ammonia, wherein hydrogen is produced by renewable-powered electrolysis. This will require analysing and/or developing high-resolution maps of UK resource potentials (e.g. wind, solar, biomass) and building a database of technologies that can potentially be part of the supply chain. You will develop a detailed mathematical model to optimise future green ammonia supply chains, considering the spatial distribution of resources and a long planning horizon (beyond 2050). The model will determine the best combination of technologies, when to invest and where to locate them, and the operation of the network. An opportunity cost analysis will be performed to quantify the importance of different resources and technologies to the overall system. You will also conduct a stochastic analysis/robust optimisation to ensure that the solutions are resilient with respect to uncertainties associated with the current and future resources and technologies.

A Home/EU award will provide full tuition fees, an annual Training Support Fee of £1,000, and a tax-free maintenance payment of £14,553 (2017-8 rate) for up to 3.5 years.

An Overseas award (3 years): Provides tuition fee, an annual Training Support Fee of £1,000, but no stipend.

The successful applicant will ideally have graduated (or be due to graduate) with an undergraduate Masters first class degree and/or MSc distinction (or overseas equivalent).

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

South West England