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PhD Vacancies

Click on the PhD Studentship which you are interested in and find out more information about it below.

Model reduction and homogenisation for filtration and adsorption

Supervisers: Dr Matteo Icardi (School of Mathematical Sciences)

Starting date: September 2017. Studentship will remain open until it is filled.

Funding: UK/EU students - Tuition Fees paid, and full Stipend at the RCUK rate, which is £14,296 per annum for 2016/17. There will also be some support available for you to claim for limited conference attendance.

Length of Studentship: 3 or 3.5 years, depending on the qualifications and training needs of the successful applicant.

Entry Requirements: an enthusiastic graduate with a 1st class degree in Mathematics (or other highly mathematical field such as Physics or Chemistry), preferably at MMath/MSc level, or an equivalent overseas degree (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 class degree, or equivalent, can be considered).

This project will be based at the University of Nottingham in the School of Mathematical Sciences in collaboration with the GeoEnergy Research Centre.

Porous media are ubiquitous in natural and engineered transport processes. When colloids or diffusive particles flows through their complex geometrical structure, non-trivial interactions arise between the advection, diffusion, particle-particle and particle-wall interactions. These processes can be modelled and simulated with computationally intensive three-dimensional simulations. In this project, a combination of rigorous multiscale analytical and numerical techniques will be used to derive and calibrate faster and simple models for filtration and adsorption processes. Extensions to include electrostatic forces and electrochemical reactions will be also considered.

The project is part of a wider research effort that sees the collaboration of several UK and international academic partners, and industrial partners in the Automotive and Oil & Gas sector.

For any enquiries please email Matteo Icardi

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Thermodynamics study of underground hydrogen storage to ensure safe deployment - EPSRC CDT in Fuel Cells and their Fuels

Supervisors: Dr Veerle Vandeginste (Chemistry), Professor Matthew Hall (Engineering), Dr Bagus Muljadi (Engineering)

Starting date: 1st September 2017. Studentship will remain open until it is filled. Early application is strongly encouraged.

Funding: UK/EU students - Tuition Fees paid and full Stipend (£14,600 per annum for 2017/18 academic year)

Length of Studentship: 4 years

Entry Requirements: UK/EU students. We are seeking a bright, highly motivated individual who has or is predicted to be awarded a first class or high 2(i) undergraduate honours degree or a second class honours degree plus a distinction at Master’s level in chemistry, engineering, physics, or a relevant discipline.

The Project

Through actions taken to keep global warming within limits, the world is meeting the challenge to transition the energy portfolio from fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) towards low-carbon, renewable energy. Common renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar energy, depend on weather conditions and diurnal-nocturnal variation. These intermittent energy sources demand solutions for grid energy storage. Underground storage of hydrogen provides a valuable solution. Hydrogen can be stored underground in man-made salt caverns. Salt rock has proven to be a very effective impermeable rock for trapped natural gas on geological time scale (tens to hundreds of million years). However, cyclic injection and extraction of hydrogen in salt caverns is different from long-term gas storage in natural systems which does not involve pressure cycling. To ensure safe field deployment of underground hydrogen storage technology, we need to address environmental concerns of gas storage in salt caverns, especially gas leakage to the surface or into aquifers. The project concentrates on thermodynamics of hydrogen storage in salt caverns, in particular investigating thermal effects linked to cycling of hydrogen injection and extraction, as well as thermal effects linked to composition and heterogeneity of the salt rocks.

The CDT in Fuel Cells and their Fuels

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Fuel Cell and their Fuels is a collaboration coordinated by Birmingham University between 5 leading Universities. You would be joining a vibrant community of 40 PhD students across these Universities all investigating different aspects of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and their applications. Many of the projects available are in close collaboration with industry.

The Centre runs a 4 year PhD programme which has a structured taught element through the first 18 months developing your understanding of the science, engineering and socio-economic issues related to hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, as well as developing transferrable skills sought by employees (e.g. communication skills, project management, innovation business skills). There are a number of group and individual activities, including a one week summer school in Greece, public dissemination events, short industry secondment in addition to presenting at national and international conferences which all help to develop key skills and expertise.

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Nano-porous gas diffusion kinetics in shale and coal

Supervisors: Professor Matthew Hall (GERC), Dr Richard Graham (School of Mathematical Sciences), Dr Richard Wheatley (School of Chemistry)

Starting date: September 2017. Studentship will remain open until it is filled.

Funding: UK/EU students - Tuition Fees paid, and full Stipend at the RCUK rate, which is £14,296 per annum for 2016/17. There will also be some support available for you to claim for limited conference attendance.

Length of studentships: 3 or 3.5 years depending on the qualifications and training needs of the successful applicant.

Entry Requirements: 1st class degree in a relevant discipline such as Engineering (Materials, Civil, Mechanical, Chemical), Chemistry, or Physics, preferably at MEng/MSc/MRes level, or an equivalent overseas degree (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 class degree can be considered). Computer programming skills would be a useful asset.

This project is based at the University of Nottingham in the GeoEnergy Research Centre.

The efficient recovery of methane from shale and coal requires rapid desorption and transport of the gas through the heterogeneous pore network at multiple length-scales (typically nano to micro). CO2 is commonly introduced to further stimulate methane production. Therefore, the pore network can often be subject to alteration, for example being partially blocked by mineral precipitates that are later dissolved by acidized fluids, or constriction caused by swelling of the material. These complex issues are of particular relevance for safe extraction of coal bed methane and shale gas, as well as for permanent sequestration of anthropogenic CO2.

This studentship will involve both experimental and theoretical study of gas diffusion and sorption kinetics at elevated temperatures and pressures representative of deep underground conditions. Samples will be evaluated before and after treatment by acidized fluids. Molecular dynamics simulations will be performed to determine the physical correlation between altered pore space and gas diffusion properties.

The work will take place within the Faculty of Engineering and as part of the GeoEnergy Research Centre, which has an ongoing collaboration with the Schools of Mathematical Sciences and Chemistry. This will ensure that state-of-the-art experimental and modelling methods will be available within the research team..

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Modelling gas uptake in shale and coal

Supervisors: Dr Richard Wheatley (School of Chemistry), Dr Richard Graham (School of Mathematical Sciences), Professor Matthew Hall (GERC)

Starting date: September 2017. Studentship will remain open until it is filled.

Funding: UK/EU students - Tuition Fees paid, and full Stipend at the RCUK rate, which is £14,296 per annum for 2016/17. There will also be some support available for you to claim for limited conference attendance.

Length of studentships: 3 or 3.5 years depending on the qualifications and training needs of the successful applicant.

Entry Requirements:1st class degree in a relevant discipline such as Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Physics or Mathematics, preferably at MSc/MRes level, or an equivalent overseas degree (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 class degree can be considered). Computer programming skills would be a useful asset.

This project is based at the University of Nottingham in the School of Chemistry.

The tendency of methane and other hydrocarbons to adsorb on the surface of pores in shale and coal affects the amount of natural gas that can be extracted as fuel. The adsorption of carbon dioxide is important in predicting the efficiency and stability of carbon sequestration. Applications such as these have led to a growing interest in measuring and modelling the interactions between gases and pores in rocks and minerals.

This studentship will involve molecular modelling of the gas uptake process. Information at the molecular scale is not readily available from experiments, and molecular modelling has the potential to add significantly to our knowledge of this process by considering, for example, competitive adsorption between different gases and water, the role of different adsorption sites, and the role played by the structure of the pore network.

The work will take place within the School of Chemistry, which has an ongoing collaboration with the School of Mathematical Sciences and with the GERC, which is a joint venture between the British Geological Survey and the University of Nottingham. This will ensure that state-of-the-art experimental and modelling methods will be available within the research team.

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Using machine learning and molecular simulation to understand the liquid-gas phase behaviour in nano-pores

Supervisors: Dr Richard Graham (School of Mathematical Sciences), Professor Matthew Hall (GERC), Dr Richard Wheatley (School of Chemistry)

Starting date: September 2017. Studentship will remain open until it is filled.

Funding: UK/EU students - Tuition Fees paid, and full Stipend at the RCUK rate, which is £14,296 per annum for 2016/17. There will also be some support available for you to claim for limited conference attendance.

Length of studentships: 3 or 3.5 years depending on the qualifications and training needs of the successful applicant.

Entry Requirements: 1st class degree in a relevant discipline such as Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics or Chemical Engineering, preferably at MEng/MSc/MRes level, or an equivalent overseas degree (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 class degree can be considered). Computer programming skills would be a useful asset.

This project is based at the University of Nottingham in the School of Mathematical Sciences.

The nano-pores in rock and shale can affect the phase behaviour of fluids such as carbon dioxide and methane. This has important consequences for the safe extraction of coal bed methane and shale gas, as well as for permanent sequestration of anthropogenic CO2. Applications such as these have sparked a growing interest in measuring and modelling the effect of nano-pores on fluid phase behaviour.

Our group has recently developed a method of modelling phase behaviour that combines ab-initio quantum chemistry, machine learning and molecular simulation to predict phase behaviour. This studentship will involve exploiting these techniques to understand and predict the behaviour of relevant fluids in coal, rock and shale nano-pores.

The work will take place within the School of Mathematical Sciences, which has an ongoing collaboration with the School of Chemistry and with the GERC, which is a joint venture between the British Geological Survey and the University of Nottingham. This will ensure that state-of-the-art experimental and modelling methods will be available within the research team.

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Multiscale Finite Elements for Reactive Transport in Natural Porous Media: The Impacts of Dissolution, Precipitation, and Clogging at the Pore Scale

Supervisors: Dr Donald Brown (School of Mathematical Sciences) and Dr Bagus Muljadi (Faculty of Engineering)

Starting date: September 2017. Studentship will remain open until it is filled.

Funding: UK/EU students - Tuition Fees paid, and full Stipend at the RCUK rate, which is £14,296 per annum for 2016/17.

Length of studentship: 3.5 years

Entry Requirements: 1st class degree in Mathematics (or other highly mathematical subject), preferably at Masters level, or an equivalent overseas degree (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 degree can be considered).

This project is primarily concerned with safe storage of carbon dioxide (CO2), efficient recovery from hydrocarbon reservoirs, and groundwater transport. In many of these applications, complex geological structures host reactive transport processes spanning a huge range of spatial and temporal scales. The accuracy of predictions can depend on factors such as the spatial resolution of the simulations and physical models at particular scales for example pore-scale to Darcy-scale. This challenge is exacerbated when the host rock geometries evolve due to dissolution or clogging effects that can occur due to fluid-solid reaction at the pore scale.

Utilizing multiscale finite elements in complex pore geometries has been an area of vivid current research. However, these methods suppose a fixed rock microstructure and do not include the effects of dissolution, precipitation, or clogging. The key challenge being that solving fully-resolved microstructural problems in each coarse block is expensive. One method of attack is to suppose pore scale geometries are parameterized and reduced basis or empirical interpolation methods can be utilized. This a project that is challenging both numerically, but also in terms of physical modelling.

This PhD studentship aims to develop efficient techniques to incorporate these higher order effects into multiscale finite elements at the pore-scale.  For this project, candidates with experience with numerical methods as well as ability to program in MATLAB or other programming languages would be at an advantage. This project will also include possible linkages and training with industrial partner's reservoir simulation software Petrel.

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Fluid permeation through rock spaces

Supervisors: Professor Sean Rigby (Faculty of Engineering)

Starting date: September 2017. This studentship is open until filled. Early application is strongly encouraged.

Funding: UK/EU students only. Fully paid tuition fees and full stipend at the RCUK rate (£14, 296 per annum for 2016/17). Some support available for limited conference attendance.

Length of studentship: 3.5 years. The successful applicant will be part of the Energy Research Accelerator at the University of Nottingham (http://www.era.ac.uk/)

Entry requirements: 1st class degree in Engineering, Physical or Earth Sciences, or an equivalent overseas degree (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 class degree, or equivalent, can be considered).

This project will concentrate on the modelling of fluid permeation through geological structures, in particular looking at the impact of complex void space heterogeneity over different length-scales on fluid flow rates. The project will involve novel pore space characterisation techniques for rock core samples, and the integration of well-logging data, to produce models of rock permeability distribution. These models will then be used to simulate complex fluid flows in the model void space. It is anticipated that the project will utilise rock core samples and logging data from the University of Nottingham’s own wells. The applications include modelling gas leakage from sequestered CO2 reservoirs or fracking sites.

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Microwave Assisted Catalytic Upgrading of Heavy Oil

Supervisors: Professor Sean Rigby (Faculty of Engineering)

Starting date: September 2017. This studentship is open until filled. Early application is strongly encouraged.

Funding: UK/EU students only. Fully paid tuition fees and full stipend at the RCUK rate (£14, 296 per annum for 2016/17). Some support available for limited conference attendance.

Length of studentship: 3.5 years. The successful applicant will be part of the Energy Research Accelerator at the University of Nottingham (http://www.era.ac.uk/)

Entry requirements: 1st class degree in Engineering, Physical or Earth Sciences, or an equivalent overseas degree (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 class degree, or equivalent, can be considered).

Heavy oil and bitumen deposits will provide energy security for the West, while conventional fuels are still needed. However, current extraction technology has a larger surface footprint and greater environmental impact than desired. These oils are also of lower grade than conventional resources. This project aims to improve the efficiency of heavy oil recovery by in-situ combustion, and develop the technology to build oil-upgrading plants underground where their environmental impact is minimised. This project will combine new catalytic technology with novel microwave processes to upgrade heavy oil as it enters the producer well still underground. The work will develop designer catalysts that are optimised for operation with microwave heating and under difficult reaction conditions underground. The project will also examine a range of options for boosting the natural oil upgrading that occurs with thermal extraction methods using a synergistic combination of industrial microwave technology and refined designs for the thermal processes. The project will potentially bring down the price of heavy oil extraction.

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Multiscale Methods for Hysteresis Effects in Geomechanics

Supervisors: Dr Donald Brown (School of Mathematical Sciences) and Dr Savvas Triantafyllou (Faculty of Engineering)

Starting Date: September 2017. Studentship will remain open untill it is filled
Based in the School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham

Funding: UK/EU students only. Fully paid tuition fees and full stipend at the RCUK rate. Some support available for limited conference attendance

Length of Studentship: 3 or 3.5 years dependent on qualifications and training needs of student

Entry Requirements: 1st class degree in Mathematics (or other highly mathematical field such as Physics or Engineering), preferably at MMath/MSc level, or an equivalent overseas degree (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 class degree, or equivalent, can be considered).

This project will have considerable interaction with the GeoEnergy Research Centre (GERC) and the British Geological Survey (BGS). For those wishing to gain international experience a secondment in fluid-rock interactions in geomechanics to either Virginia Tech (Virginia, USA) or The China University of Mining and Technology (Xuzhou, China) may be possible.

Click here for more information and to apply for this PhD studentship

 

 

Efficient Techniques for Heterogeneous Non-Local Flow Models

Supervisors: Dr Donald Brown (School of Mathematical Sciences)

Starting Date: September 2017. Studentship will remain open untill it is filled
Based in the School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham

Funding: UK/EU students only. Fully paid tuition fees and full stipend at the RCUK rate. Some support available for limited conference attendance. 

Length of Studentship: 3 or 3.5 years dependent on qualifications and training needs of student

Entry Requirements: 1st class degree in Mathematics (or other highly mathematical field such as Engineering), preferably at MMath/MSc level, or an equivalent overseas degree (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 class degree, or equivalent, can be considered).

This project will have considerable interaction with the GeoEnergy Research Centre (GERC) and the British Geological Survey (BGS).

Click here for more information and to apply for this PhD Studentship

 

   

Ensuring sustainability of drinking water resources by optimising energy efficiency for desalination techniques

Supervisors: Professor John King (School of Mathematical Sciences), Dr. Veerle Vandeginste (School of Chemistry)

Starting date: Autumn 2017

Funding: UK/EU students - Tuition Fees paid, and full tax0free Stipend of £14,296 per annum (2017/18 rate). While the scholarships may be held by students of all nationalities, the Leverhulme Trust has a particular interest in supporting UK or EU students. International students would be expected to cover the difference between international and UK/EU tuition fees (currently £11,387 per annum).

Length of studentship: 4 years (Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship)

The project aims to develop modelling approaches for optimization of the energy efficiency of desalination methods by using a whole systems approach. Current research focuses on the development on several aspects of a range of desalination techniques. Modelling of the expected economic outcomes and upscaling of techniques that are currently being developed will help to identify the most efficient and sustainable ways of desalination in future industrial scale applications. Data used in this study will be primarily based on published data sets and can involve cost analysis, production data from industrial scale desalination processes or experimental data from lab scale development of new methods (in particular those involving membrane efficiency and flow rates linked to pumping costs).

As will be clear from the description below of sustainability impacts, the area is rich with potential novel applications for mathematical modelling approaches.  The focus will be on deterministic (partial-differential-equation) formulations able to describe the processes of mass and heat transfer in question, with distillation, reverse osmosis and electrodialysis each raising its own modelling challenges.  That the student will need to address questions of upscaling and economic efficiency alongside the physics-based modelling will ensure he/she is equipped with an unusually broad and valuable skillset through the PhD programme.

Potential sustainability impacts:

Access to sustainable drinking water resources is a critical need for society. Due to the threatening impacts of climate change and a growing population, water management becomes ever more challenging, especially in low-land regions that will be flooded due to the sea level rise, resulting from melting ice caps. The most promising source for drinking water supplies is desalination, given 97% of water on Earth is saline. The main desalination technologies include distillation, reverse osmosis and electrodialysis. These methods require an energy source, either for heating (distillation), pumping (reverse osmosis), or for generating electric potential (electrodialysis). There is a pressing need for industrial scale development of cheaper and more environmentally friendly desalination methods. For example, membranes for reverse osmosis can be improved by designing very thin membranes which require less pressure for water to pass through but which have holes small enough to trap sodium and chloride ions: these include membranes of graphene, carbon nanotubes, or zeolites. 

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GeoEnergy Research Centre

Email: enquiries@gerc.ac.uk