• IFRF supports another student at UK Centre for Doctoral Training

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    • Post Author

      Philip Sharman

      IFRF Director

As an Industry Partner of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Resilient Decarbonised Fuel Energy Systems (RDFES) – the successor to the previous, highly successful CDT in CCS and clean fossil energy (CCSCFE) – IFRF has agreed to act as the ‘industrial sponsor/supervisor’ for an Engineering Doctorate student who has recently commenced his four-year course of study (a three-year PhD plus one year of industry-relevant training).

Part of a new network of 75 CDTs supported by the UK’s Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the RDFES CDT involves the universities of Nottingham, Sheffield and Cardiff – all members of IFRF – together with industry partners and cohorts of high-calibre PhD students, tackling the global challenge of providing resilient and decarbonised energy systems in a net-zero emissions world.  The Centre aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and support an environmentally friendly but reliable energy world by developing and implementing:

  • Techniques to enable carbon neutral fuels such as biomass and hydrogen to be used in systems designed for fossil fuels;
  • Use of CO2 as a chemical feedstock for industry and manufacturing – effectively turning a waste into a product;
  • Use of biomass as a feedstock for chemical processes as a replacement for fossil fuels;
  • CO2 capture technologies for a range of industrial sectors, including power generation, iron, steel, and cement manufacturing, and glass-making; and
  • Automation of large energy-intensive processes to improve their flexibility and emission performance.

The RDFES CDT aims to grow the next generation of research leaders and innovators, allowing them to develop a broad economic, societal and contextual awareness, as well as strong technical skills that will enable them to operate within multi-disciplinary team.

‘Our’ student – James Harman-Thomas – is based at the University of Sheffield (UoS) but will spend much of his first year with a group of seven other EngD students within their cohort, undertaking compulsory or elective courses at the various partner universities and other training activities (including hands-on experience at the IFRF’s preferred research partner PACT’s pilot-scale facilities near Sheffield).  An MChem (Chemistry) graduate from the University of Leeds in the UK, James will be studying (experimentally and theoretically) the chemical kinetic mechanism of methane combustion under supercritical CO2 conditions.

James will be telling us a bit more about his proposed research in a future IFRF Blog and Monday Night Mail item once he has conducted his literature search and defined the scope of his experimental work.  As his research progresses, we look forward to hearing more about James’project and the results he achieves, and reading at least one paper from him in IFRF’s online Industrial Combustion Journal.

In the meanwhile, we wish him well with his studies and training modules!

By way of a quick update, IFRF’s previous student (at the predecessor CDT mentioned above) – Florence Lee – is now well into her second year and busy looking into water management in the gas diffusion and microporous layers of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells.

In an IFRF Blogpost last August, Florence wrote an excellent introduction to her PhD investigation into ‘a novel, low-cost multifunctional layer for low-temperature polymer electrolyte fuel cells’.

She has just returned to the UK from Japan where she has been testing some gas diffusion layer samples that she had produced.  We will be hearing more from Florence in the next couple of months…

As members of IFRF, if you or your organisations would like to link with either of these two bright young energy-leaders-of-the-future to help advise or steer them in their research, please let Philip Sharman know and he will put you in touch.