PhD Studentship: Enabling a new paradigm for CO2 transport via the stabilization of clathrate hydrates using additives

Updated: about 2 hours ago
Location: London, ENGLAND
Deadline: 31 May 2021

UCL Department / Division
Department of Chemical Engineering
Location of position
Duration of Studentship
4 years
£18,000 per annum + UK fees
Vacancy Information
The Department of Chemical Engineering at University College London (UCL) is among the leading research-intensive departments across the world. It hosts over 24 academics whose research is collaborative, ground-breaking and focused on solving societal problems.
The Chemical Engineering Department is seeking an enthusiastic and dedicated post-graduate student to research how to reduce the environmental impact of the energy sector.
The post-holder will join the Molecular and Engineering Thermodynamics Group, led by Prof. Striolo. Research in this group is inspired by the ‘Rerum Cognoscere Causas’ motto: we seek to understand the molecular mechanisms responsible for macroscopic observations. In this case, the application of interest is storing CO2 in hydrates, for transportation or long-term sequestration. The project will cement a collaboration between Prof. Striolo and Assoc. Prof. Salvalaglio. The project has strong industrial as well as environmental relevance, and therefore it is anticipated that collaborations between these two academics and companies in the energy and specialty chemicals sector will benefit from the project outcomes.
Understanding of classical thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, transport phenomena, and molecular simulations are desired. Deep understanding of these topics will be developed during the project. The post-holder will have the opportunity of sharing results and ideas with several industrial partners as well as with academic collaborators.
The post is fully funded (stipend and fees) for 4 years.
Studentship Description
This A&BK Studentship is a gift from a generous donor, whom we gratefully acknowledge. As per stipulation of the A&BK Studentship, the selection of the successful candidate will be based both on academic capability and on financial need. The interested candidates should explicitly discuss how they align with these criteria in their application.
The focus of this Studentship is the development of a molecular-based understanding of why chemical additives such as THF are able to increase the thermodynamic stability of CO2 clathrate hydrates. Applications of interest range from a new paradigm for CO2 transport, enabled by hydrates, to the CO2 sequestration in geological hydrate deposits.
The project will start from recent molecular simulation results obtained by our groups, which, in agreement with experiments, show that THF is able to stabilise CO2 hydrates. It has been found that, under appropriate T&P conditions, small concentrations of THF speed up the growth of said hydrates without being captured in the hydrates themselves. We seek to further explain these phenomena via the implementation of advanced simulation algorithms pioneered by our groups and to test new chemicals as potential additives. While the scope of the Studentship is practical, the research is exquisitely fundamental. The successful candidate will be trained to conduct computational research, using atomistic molecular dynamics, and to interpret experiments. The resultant skills are transferable to other problems among various industrial sectors.
This studentship is fully funded for 4 years. The post holder will present the research results at international conferences and in peer-reviewed journal articles.
Person Specification
The successful candidate will have completed a first-class degree at the MEng or MSc level in Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Materials Sciences, Physics or related disciplines.
The successful candidate is a dedicated student, preferably with advanced understanding of thermodynamics, transport phenomena, reaction phenomena and research methods.
Willingness to perform independently, yet within a collaborative environment, within a world-class competitive and highly demanding environment are a must.
Demonstrable prior knowledge of research methods and molecular simulations approaches are desirable, but not necessary requirements.
First-class degree at the MEng or MSc level is required.
Funds are only available to cover UK-equivalent fees.
Applications should be submitted through:
Please nominate Prof. Alberto Striolo as supervisor and include a statement of interest.
Contact name
Prof. Alberto Striolo
Contact details
UCL Taking Action for Equality
Closing Date
31 May 2021
Latest time for the submission of applications
Interview date
Studentship Start Date
01/09/2021 or soon thereafter
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