PhD in Chemical Engineering: Towards an Artificial Operator: Hybrid Reactor Modelling for Enhanced Process Control

Updated: 4 months ago
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, ENGLAND
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 31 May 2023

Award summary

100% of home tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £18,622


The transition to net zero will push the chemical industry to smaller, more remote plants operating intermittently requiring a step change in process automation and control. An artificial operator will steer the plant control system through changes in feedstock availability and maximise catalyst lifetime, as human operators currently do. This PhD project will explore hybrid approaches to reactor modelling which will be necessary to achieve this step change.

Hybrid approaches seek to combine data-driven modelling, which are more readily incorporated into plant diagnostic and control systems, with the basic physical laws. Existing data-driven approaches are not constrained by conservation laws, so can predict impossible situations and are not robust on extrapolation. Existing fundamental models are complex and often ill-constrained, time consuming to develop, and cannot be transferred between processes. Hybrid models can be developed to a complexity appropriate to data available.

The project will also address important scientific challenges in intelligent industry 5.0, future energy and digitalisation of process industries.

Number of awards: 1

Start date: 18th September 2023

Award duration: 4 years

Johnson Matthey

Prof Jarka Glassey
Dr. Jie Zhang
Dr. Robert Gallen (Johnson Matthey)
Dr. Joe Emmerson (Johnson Matthey)

Eligibility Criteria

You must have, or expect to gain, a minimum 2:1 Honours degree or international equivalent in a subject relevant to the proposed PhD project (eg. (bio)chemical engineering and process engineering). Enthusiasm for research, the ability to think and work independently, excellent analytical skills and strong verbal and written communication skills are also essential requirements.

Eligibility is restricted to UK applicants and EU applicants with settled or pre-settled status in the UK.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s Apply to Newcastle Portal

Once registered select ‘Create a Postgraduate Application’.

Use ‘Course Search’ to identify your programme of study:

  • Search for the ‘Course Title’ using the programme code: 8030F  
  • Research Area: Chemical Engineering
  • Select PhD Chemical Engineering (full time) as the programme of study 

You will then need to provide the following information in the ‘Further Details’ section: 

  • A ‘Personal Statement’ (this is a mandatory field) - upload a document or write a statement directly in to the application form 
  • The studentship code ENG116 in the ‘Studentship/Partnership Reference’ field 
  • When prompted for how you are providing your research proposal - select ‘Write Proposal’. You should then type in the title of the research project from this advert. You do not need to upload a research proposal.    

Contact details

Jarka Glassey

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