PhD Studentship: Thermally-driven Solar Air Conditioning

University of Nottingham - Engineering

Location: University Park

Supervised by Professor David Grant, Dr Alastair Stuart and Professor Gavin Walker

Energy Research Accelerator

The Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) is a cross-disciplinary energy hub, fostering business-academia collaboration to accelerate solutions to global energy challenges. It will provide new buildings, skilled people, jobs products and services to transform the energy sector. Building on existing programmes and academic expertise across the partnership, universities within ERA have committed over £2m for doctoral students for the ERA skills agenda. Through Innovate UK, the government has committed a capital investment of £60m, and ERA has secured private sector co-investment of £120m. ERA's priorities of Geo-Energy Systems, Integrated Energy Systems and Thermal Energy will help deliver new technologies and behaviours, enabling ERA to have a transformative effect across the energy spectrum.

ERA is a key programme within Midlands Innovation - a consortium of research intensive universities that harnesses the Midlands' combined research excellence and industry expertise to tackle the biggest challenges facing the UK.

The Project

The Aim is to deliver compact, thermally-driven A/C through a totally new innovative route. Already a significant proportion of global electrical power consumption is being used to keep buildings cool (up to 50%). An air conditioning (A/C) unit achieves a refrigeration effect through an input of additional energy, conventionally supplied by electricity. We are investigating a novel A/C system driven by solar thermal energy (reducing operating costs) and utilising a more energy dense method than that of vapour-absorption refrigeration.

At the University, a thermochemical A/C is being developed based on metal hydride (MH) powders suspended in an inert liquid to form flowable slurries. Once in slurry form the MH powders can be circulated between heat source and heat sink to deliver a refrigerating effect. Using the MHs in slurry form is advantageous as it promotes heat transfer, maximise refrigerating effect and reduces the required mass of metal hydride.

The research activities of this PhD will be focussed on investigating the hydrogenation properties of metal hydrides suspended in liquid carriers and identifying mechanisms that limit the performance of the slurry bed (either in bed capacity or cooling power). The performance of the slurries will be correlated with materials characterisation to develop a complete understanding of this novel technology.

Summary: UK/EU students - Tuition Fees paid, and full Stipend at the RCUK rate, which is £14,600 per annum for 2017/18. The scholarship length will be 3.5 years and the successful applicant will be part of the Energy Research Accelerator at the University of Nottingham (

Entry Requirements: Starting September 2018, we require an enthusiastic graduate with a 1st class degree in materials science, chemistry, chemical engineering, physics or a relevant discipline, preferably at Masters level, or an equivalent overseas degree (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 degree can be considered). 

To apply visit:

For any enquiries please email Professor David Grant (

This studentship is open until filled. Early application is strongly encouraged.

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:



Midlands of England