In the future, the availability of abundant low carbon hydrogen will be crucial for meeting the worlds’ energy needs, while reducing carbon emissions. As direct storage of hydrogen is difficult, alternative hydrogen carriers are required, such as liquid fuels or metal hydrides. The formation of the storage compounds, their decomposition to generate hydrogen and recycling back to the starting materials, requires metal heterogeneous catalysts. Yet, the mechanisms of these reactions are not understood, meaning developing the next generation of catalysts with better performance is unfocussed.
This fully funded PhD studentship will bring the yourself together with world-leading experts at ISIS neutron source, the UK Catalysis hub and Loughborough University to understand how these catalysts operate. Your studies will be based at the Research Complex at Harwell and ISIS neutron source. The research complex is the UK’s leading science and technology innovation campus, situated 20 minutes from Oxford and 1 hour from London. Your PhD will involve the production of catalysts, development of purpose-built flow cells and performing a range of neutron spectroscopy measurements. In addition, you will take part in studies around green hydrogen at the centre for doctoral training in sustainable hydrogen (120 credits of modules in your 1st year).
The project will use the unique interaction between neutrons and hydrogen as a powerful tool to investigate the interaction between hydrogen carriers and inorganic catalysts. Using world leading neutron techniques, you will study processes occurring on Co and Cu catalysts for CO2 hydrogenation and the evolution of hydrogen from metal hydrides. Using this understanding, new catalysts, with a step change in performance, can be produced and used in future green hydrogen storage processes.