PhD on CO2 Fuels – Direct conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Renewable Fuels with Durham University

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU) is a collaborative doctoral training programme run by the Universities of Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham. In addition to undertaking an individual scientific research project at one of the three partner Universities, doctoral candidates will engage with added value training opportunities, for example in business and innovation through a 4-year training programme that has been designed to maximise the benefits of a cohort approach to doctoral training. The start date is 1st October 2023.

Background: The motor transportation industry is undergoing a revolution as Li-ion battery technology is replacing fossil-derived liquid fuels as the energy source. However, due to the low power to weight ratio, Li-ion batteries are unlikely to replace liquid aviation fuels. Sustainable aviation fuel derived from hydrogenation of captured carbon dioxide could result in a 70% reduction in life-cycle carbon compared to fossil-based sources – ( 

Project: The aim of the project is to develop well defined, composite catalysts bearing zinc-based hydrogenation functionality and zeolitic Brønsted acidic sites that are able to effect the hydrogenation of CO2 to jet fuel. Using our knowledge and control of zinc speciation in modified zeolites (Sustainable Energy Fuels, 2021, 5, 2136 and ChemPhysChem, 2020, 21, 673) the project will elucidate how the nature and location of the differing catalytic components affects the overall catalytic function, which will provide structure function models for future catalyst design. The location of the disparate catalytic functionalities will be controlled via rationalised synthetic approaches such as organometallic grafting. The conversion of CO2 to jet fuel will be explored using flow reactors coupled with online analysis (GCMS) and mechanistic pathways will be probed by in-situ DRIFTS analysis.

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Russell Taylor

The application closing date is 17 February 2023.

For more information and to apply visit

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