PhD Studentship: Developing an Institutional Size Thermal Uplift Gasifier Cookstove

University of Nottingham - Engineering

Location: University Park

Supervised by Dr. Mike Clifford

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 of this project is to develop an institutional scale cookstove using thermal uplift gasifier technology

Around the world, three billion people cook on traditional open fires fuelled with biomass; this results in four million premature deaths from illnesses attributed to indoor air pollution. These problems are associated with CO, CO2 and Particle Matter emissions produced by inefficient burning on an open fire and contained in biomass smoke. Many solutions in the form of Improved Cookstoves (ICS) have been developed, however they have only been affordable to a small proportion of potential users and have limited use amongst extended families and institutions such as schools, restaurants and monasteries, with most users retaining their inefficient traditional stoves to heat water. There are a limited number of commercial solutions in this larger ICS market, such as Envirofit’s EFI-100L stove, but retailing at around $1,000 it is beyond the reach of most, and is poorly rated for emissions.

Previous work at the University has resulted in the design and laboratory testing of a prototype novel institutional scale thermal uplift gasifier stove. Initial results in terms of estimated manufacturing costs, efficiency and emissions testing are promising, but further experimental and computational work is required to optimise the design for commercial production.

Summary: UK/EU students - Tuition Fees paid, and full Stipend at the RCUK rate, which is £14,777 per annum for 2018/19. 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 October 2018, we require an enthusiastic graduate with a 1st class degree in Mechanical Engineering 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 Mike Clifford (

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

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Midlands of England