Fully Funded PhD Studentship in EPSRC Centre for Doctor Training (CDT) – Resilient decarbonised fuel energy systems

  • Fully Funded PhD Studentship in EPSRC Centre for Doctor Training (CDT) – Resilient decarbonised fuel energy systems

    Supervisor: Dr Ehsan Alborzi, Prof. Mohamed. Pourkashanian; Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Sheffield. Industrial supervisors: Mr Paul Ferra; Dr Marco Zedda, Rolls Royce, Derby

    Utilisation of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) as blend with petroleum-derived aviation fuels or standalone replacements offers an advantageous step towards decarbonised aviation, for foreseeable future, in response to the net-zero emission target by 2050. However, production of SAFs and market penetration is arduous as these fuels are subject to tighter tolerances and more certification hurdles than the petroleum-based aviation fuels due to a number of reasons amongst which safety of operation and compatibility with existing fleets are the most important criteria. For that reason, any new type of alternative fuel needs to be carefully assessed for a number physico-chemical properties. One of these properties is the propensity of aviation fuel to thermally degrade and forms gum and surface deposits in the aero-engine fuel injection system.

    We are seeking a talented and motivated individual to commence a PhD programme in September 2021. The PhD candidate will be exploring the underlying molecular interactions between agglomerated molecules and a stainless steel and nickel alloy during sustainable aviation fuel thermal oxidative degradation. The formation of agglomerated insoluble materials and deposition of these on surfaces of aero-engine fuel injection system is of great concern for both jet engine manufacturers and fuel producers.

    The PhD topic is an interdisciplinary research project which covers the following areas:

    – Ab initio quantum chemistry calculations, in vacuum and for periodic surface systems;
    – Analysis and extension of chemical kinetics mechanism for fuel thermal degradation;
    – Execution of small-scale experimental work for the acquisition of data and validation of the proposed mechanism using available equipment in Sustainable Aviation Fuel Innovation Centre (SAF-IC) at the University of Sheffield

    We are offering an opportunity for a full time, 4 year PhD programme, funded by the EPSRC Centre for Doctor Training (CDT) “Resilient decarbonised Fuel Energy Systems” and Rolls Royce. starting in September 2021. Candidates should have a first or high 2.1 class honours degree in an engineering or science discipline (e.g. chemistry, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, or applied mathematics). A strong background in organic reactions (design and data analysis in chemical engineering), numerical work and / or chemical kinetics are desirable but not essential. A good knowledge of Linux for working with the university’s High Performance Computing (HPC) is preferable.

    The PhD candidate will be working alongside a dedicated team of researchers in Translation Energy Research Centre(TERC), Sustainable Aviation Fuel Innovation Centre (SAF-IC). As the project is partially funded by Rolls Royce, the PhD candidate will have the opportunity to work with Rolls Royce experts in Derby. The scholarship on offer (to eligible students) comprises a tax-free stipend of £18,757 (2020/2021) a year for four years, and paid UK/EU tuition fees. Due to funding restrictions, this position is only available for UK candidates.

    Informal enquiries may be sent to Dr Ehsan Alborzi e.alborzi@sheffield.ac.uk
    Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted.
    If you are interested, please apply online at: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply/applying