PhD Studentship in Chemistry: Modelling Gas Uptake in Shale and Coal

University of Nottingham - School of Chemistry

Supervised by Dr Richard Wheatley.

The tendency of methane and other hydrocarbons to adsorb on the surface of pores in shale and coal affects the amount of natural gas that can be extracted as fuel. The adsorption of carbon dioxide is important in predicting the efficiency and stability of carbon sequestration. Applications such as these have led to a growing interest in measuring and modelling the interactions between gases and pores in rocks and minerals.

This studentship will involve molecular modelling of the gas uptake process. Information at the molecular scale is not readily available from experiments, and molecular modelling has the potential to add significantly to our knowledge of this process by considering, for example, competitive adsorption between different gases and water, the role of different adsorption sites, and the role played by the structure of the pore network.

The work will take place within the School of Chemistry, which has an ongoing collaboration with the School of Mathematical Sciences and with the GERC, which is a joint venture between the British Geological Survey and the University of Nottingham. This will ensure that state-of-the-art experimental and modelling methods will be available within the research team.

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.

Summary: UK/EU students - tuition fees paid, and full stipend at the RCUK rate, which is £14,553 per annum for 2017/18. There will also be some support available for you to claim for limited conference attendance.

Eligibility/Entry Requirements: We require an enthusiastic graduate with a 1st class degree in a relevant discipline such as Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Physics, or Mathematics, preferably at MSc/MRes level, or an equivalent overseas degree (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 class degree can be considered). Mathematical and computational skills are essential and must be described in the application. Computer programming skills are a useful asset.

Apply: This studentship is available to start from September 2018 and will remain open until it is filled. To apply please visit the University of Nottingham application page:

For any enquiries please email:

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

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Midlands of England