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PhD Studentship: CO2-based Electro-synthesis of Ethylene-oxide

University of Southampton - nCATS, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Southampton
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: The funding covers UK/EU fees and stipend in line with EPSRC rates
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 11th July 2018
Closes: 31st August 2018

The substitution of fossil based products with new and innovative synthesis strategies for bulk chemicals, fuels or fuel additives is becoming a strategic goal in the next decade. The combination of integrated electrochemical processes driven by renewable energy from wind turbines or solar panels and the parallel use of water and CO2 as carbon source will direct the chemical production of bulk chemicals and fuels into a new industrial age. 

The H2020 CO2EXIDE project, where University of Southampton is in collaboration with Schaeffler Group and a number of other European project partners, aims to electrolyse CO2 toward ethylene at a suitable cathode while the creation of reactive oxygen species (e.g. H2O2, HOCl) occurring on the anode to produce chemicals such as ethylenoxide and its derivatives (e.g. 1,4 Dioxane or Glycolethers), which are artificial fuels (or diesel additives) with the potential to replace OME. This PhD project, co-sponsored by Schaeffler Group, will conduct the following tasks:

  • Conducting an in depth literature study on the state-of-the-art research and development of CO2 conversion to ethylene, water oxidation to H2O2 and salt water to HOCl by electrolysis and electro catalysts using electrolytic cells or PEM technology.
  • Preparation of a concept and design guidelines for a membrane-catalyst assembly, PEM design and micro-reactor design that is suitable for the CO2 to C2H4 reaction and the H2O to H2O2 reaction.
  • Developing catalytic coatings on 3D printed electrodes for the catalytic reactions mentioned above.
  • Designing an experimental procedure and building a PEM reactor and a micro-reactor to evaluate highly complex stoichiometric coatings for the production of C2H4O.

UK/EU students interested in CO2 reduction with electrochemistry and materials background are encouraged to apply for this 3-year EngD studentship. An enhanced stipend can be provided to an outstanding candidate who can demonstrate strong experiences in relevant research areas.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Professor Ling Wang, nCATS research group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 5076.

To apply, please complete an application for a PhD in Engineering and the Environment using the following link:

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