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PhD Studentship: Computational Catalytic Modelling for the Conversion of CO2 to Higher-Value Synthetic Fuels

University of Southampton - Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Southampton
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: The funding covers UK/EU fees and stipend at the standard EPSRC rate
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 4th February 2019
Closes: 1st June 2019
Reference: MECHENG-ET-550

Supervisory Team: Dr Lindsay-Marie ArmstrongProfessor Robert Raja

This is a multidisciplinary project between the School of Engineering and the School of Chemistry.

The studentship is in partnership with SMMI.                    

The international maritime transportation sector accounts for more than 80% of world trade and shipping is predicted to increase in the future. Shipping contributes substantial emissions of toxic or harmful exhaust gas containing compounds, such as CO2, NOx, SOx, particulates, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon residues from diesel engines. Whilst emissions from road traffic and other land-based sources has been either decreasing or holding steady, emissions from shipping have been increasing steadily for decades. A recent Greenhouse Gas Strategy report by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) set an ambitious target of reducing 50% reduction of the current CO2 by 2050. This means we are entering a crucial transition whereby alternative fuels will play a more prominent role. However, this transition must begin immediately as ocean vessels have a long economic life so we need to look towards potential abundant feedstocks that would work with the current conversion processes to make them more effective and sustainable. 

Upgrading CO2 into higher-value alcohols or synthetic fuel production is a viable option. Reactions utilising CO2 as a feedstock within a system that combines carbon-capturing species with hydrogen-activating nanoparticles for the direct conversion of CO2 to higher-value alcohols or synthetic fuels is an exciting and evolving field of research that holds great potential. 

This is a multi-disciplinary project based between engineering and chemistry. This project will involve a combination of experimental chemical investigations as well as the development of a catalytic modelling approaches which can capture the CO2 conversion process for a range of operating conditions, typical to the marine emission concentrations, to yield high-value synthetic fuels. The insight gained from this project will afford wider scope for optimisation the derivation of CO2-based fuels from biomass sources to further reduce CO2 emissions. 

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Lindsay-Marie Armstrong, Energy Technology Research Group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 4760.

Funding and Eligibility

This 3 year studentship covers UK/EU level tuition fees and provides an annual tax-free stipend at the standard EPSRC rate, which is £14,777 for 2018/19.

The funding available is competitive and will only be awarded to an outstanding applicant. As part of the selection process, the strength of the whole application is taken into account, including academic qualifications, personal statement, CV and references.

For further guidance on funding, please contact

How to Apply

Click here to apply and select the programme - PhD in Engineering and the Environment. Please enter the title of the PhD Studentship in the application form.

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