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PhD Studentship: Alternative Energy Vectors for Future Power and Propulsion

University College London - Department of Mechanical Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: London
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Full tuition fees and stipend of £17,009 per annum (for 3 years).
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 8th July 2019
Closes: 8th October 2019
Reference: 1815923


Gas turbines are essential components of the future energy mix, with applications in power generation and aviation. In preparation for large-scale decarbonisation in the energy sector, manufacturers are developing gas turbines which can operate on sustainable fuels (biogas, syngas, ammonia, hydrogen). Even though existing gas turbines offer considerable fuel flexibility, operation with non-conventional fuels is still challenging due to issues of flame blow-out, flashback and pollutant emissions. The development of ultra-low emission combustion technologies together with the increasing diversity of fuel sources necessitates a fundamental understanding of the complex mechanisms governing pollutant formation in gas turbines. Optical diagnostic techniques are extensively employed to study these phenomena as they enable highly-resolved, non-intrusive measurements of flame structure and species. Insights gained from these studies also enable validation of numerical models employed in the optimisation of combustor design.

The project involves development of methods and strategies that allow investigation of combustion phenomena relevant to ultra-low emission gas turbines (GT), with focus on pollutant formation mechanisms (such as NO, CO). The research will have a joint emphasis of application of advanced laser diagnostics and understanding flame dynamics in configurations relevant to industry, thereby allowing creation of high-fidelity time and space resolved data for modelling and design optimisation. The candidate will be embedded within the Technology Centre for Energy Research at UCL, supported by Siemens Turbomachinery Ltd, and the work has potential to directly feed into development of future zero-carbon emission engines.

The position will also offer opportunities to engage in teaching assistant activities, and work with researchers and engineers in the Energy and Environment group. As a PhD student at UCL, the candidate will benefit from training in high-impact research and high-performance computing, and access to state-of-the-art experimental laboratories. Furthermore, the candidate will be encouraged to publish work in leading journals and present findings in national/international conferences.

Person Specification:

Applicants must have a first class of upper 2:1 degree in engineering, chemistry, physics or related discipline, with an interest in thermofluids, experimental characterisation, and data analysis. Excellent organisational, interpersonal and communication skills are essential. Background in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, design (CAD) and MATLAB is desirable.

Closing Date and Start Date:

We will be continuously having informal discussions until this position is filled.

Value of award:

Full tuition fees and stipend of £17,009 per annum (for 3 years).


This funding is for UK/EU nationals. International students may apply, however, fees will be capped at UK/EU level. Please refer to the following website for eligibility criteria:

Application Process:  

Eligible applicants should first contact Dr R. Balachandran ( or Dr. M. Talibi ( quoting the job reference. Please enclose a one-page statement outlining suitability for the project and two pages CV (including contact details of two referees). The supervisory team will arrange interviews for short-listed candidates. After interview, the successful candidate will be given instructions to formally apply online via the UCL website. For further information, see

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