PhD Studentship: Unconventional Energy Sources

University of Nottingham - Engineering

Location: University Park

Heavy oil, shale oil and bitumen deposits will provide energy security for the World, while conventional fuels are still needed. However, current extraction technology has a larger surface footprint and greater environmental impact than desired. These oils are also of lower grade than conventional resources. This project aims to improve the efficiency of oil recovery by techniques including in-situ combustion and electromagnetic heating, and develop the technology to build oil-upgrading plants underground where their environmental impact is minimised. This project will combine new catalytic technology with novel microwave processes to upgrade heavy oil as it enters the producer well still underground. The work will develop designer catalysts that are optimised for operation with microwave heating and under difficult reaction conditions underground. The project will also examine a range of options for boosting the natural oil upgrading that occurs with thermal extraction methods using a synergistic combination of industrial microwave technology and refined designs for the thermal processes. The project will potentially bring down the price of heavy oil extraction. 

Potential research topics include:

1) Microwave enhanced oil recovery (EOR) 

2) THAI-CAPRI thermal EOR method

3) Enhanced oil recovery using methods for in-situ catalyst formation.

4) Electromagnetic heating approaches to process contaminated drill-cuttings.

The project will be affiliated with the NERC CDT in Oil and Gas Academy.

Summary: UK/EU students - Tuition Fees paid, and full Stipend at the RCUK rate, which is £14,777 per annum for 2018/19, subject to annual increases for inflation. 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 Chemical Engineering, Physical, Chemical or Earth Sciences, or an equivalent overseas degree (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 class degree, or equivalent, can be considered).

Apply: This studentship will start in September 2018. 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