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Ultra Efficient Thermal Energy Storage (TES) - Multiscale Design and Development of Thermal Energy Stores

University of Birmingham - School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham (UK) - Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,340 per annum stipend at EPSRC rates, covering tuition fees, for UK or EU students only
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 7th August 2018
Closes: 30th September 2018

The successful applicant will also have the opportunity to be part of the Energy Research Accelerator at the University of Birmingham (

Supervisor: Dr Adriano Sciacovelli

Funding:  University Scholarship covering tuition fees and stipend at EPSRC rates (£14,340 per annum) for UK or EU students only.

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

Project description

To enable high penetration of renewables thermal energy storage (TES) is needed in multiple applications including industrial processes, space heating and cooling, and power generation. Latent and thermochemical storage materials offer high energy density solutions by exploiting solid/liquid transition of phase change materials (PCMs) and/or very exothermic reactions such as hydration of inorganic salts.

However, our previous investigations have shown that the overall efficiency of latent/thermochemical storage strongly depends on the configuration and on the design of the thermal energy stores that encompass the storage materials. There is therefore a fear that, if the stores are not properly configured, poor energy storage density would occur, and therefore the full potential of the storage materials would remain unexploited.

The fascinating question is to reveal the fundamental mechanisms behind this link between the thermal stores design and the thermal storage materials properties, by developing predictive methods based on the underlying thermal and chemical processes. Such new understanding will enable the optimization of heat transfer and mass transfer flows in the thermal stores, helping the implementation of TES technology in clean energy applications.

This challenging project will therefore aim to develop new multiscale models based on thermal and mass transport phenomena in order to simulate and optimize latent/thermochemical energy storage devices, linking the configuration of thermal store with the phenomena at the material micro-scale. Some of these phenomena includes: melting/solidification, convective heat transfer, percolation in porous media, hydration/dehydration, mass diffusion.

The models, starting from our past work, will therefore need to encompass a wide range of phenomena. The focus will be on transport equations coupled optimization methods with additional multiscale challenges for the reasons describe above.

This project, together with the research environment and the facilities available at the Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage, will equip the student with a unique set of skills in modelling and experimental techniques, in the context of clean energy applications. In addition, this PhD project will give opportunity to work in close contact with EU/US academic partners and industry.

Phd candidate specification:

We are looking for creative and motivated applicants with First or Upper Second degree (or equivalent) in Engineering, Physics or related subject. A relevant degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage. heat & mass transfer, numerical modelling, experimental design, energy.

For information about the application process and enquiries please to Dr Adriano Sciacovelli (, attaching your CV.

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