Development of New Ammonia/Hydrogen Combustors for Gas Turbines

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    Cardiff University
    United Kingdom
    Formal sciences
    Natural sciences


A hydrogen economy has been the focus of researchers and developers over the decades. However, the complexity of moving and storing hydrogen has always been a major obstacle to deploy the concept. Therefore, other materials can be employed to improve handling whilst reducing cost over long distances and long periods. Ammonia, a highly hydrogenated molecule, can be used to store and distribute hydrogen easily, as the molecule has been employed for more than 120 years for fertilizer purposes. Being a carbon-free chemical, ammonia (NH3) has the potential to support a hydrogen transition thus decarbonising transport, power and industries.

However, the complexity of using ammonia for power generation lays on the appropriate use of the chemical to reach high power outputs combined with currently low efficiencies that bring up overall costs. This complex scenario is also linked to the production of combustion profiles that tend to be highly polluting (with high NOx emissions and slipped unburned ammonia). There is no technology capable of using ammonia whilst producing both low emissions and high efficiencies in large power generation devices, thus efficiently enabling the recovery of hydrogen and reconversion of stranded, green energy that can be fed back to the grid. Tackling these problems can resolve one of the most important barriers in the use of such a molecule and storage of renewable energies. Countries such as Japan have engaged in ambitious programs to resolve these issues, aiming for large power units to run on ammonia by 2030. Thus, European counterparts, led by UK innovation, need also to engage in these technological advancements to fully unlock a hydrogen, cost-effective economy.

Therefore, this project seeks to establish fundamental results that will ensure the development of an improved combustor for the use of ammonia to produce low NOx emissions combined with low ammonia slip. Hydrogen production, which will be generated through the combustion process of NH3, will also serve to increase power outputs, thus enabling the production of large power in compact systems, raising efficiency and decreasing overall cost. The novel combustion system, proposed from vast CFD modelling and fundamental experimental tests, will be integrated into a new ammonia micro gas turbine. The system will be combined with novel thermodynamic principles that will lead into a trigeneration cycle (cooling, power and heat) to unlock all the potential benefits of ammonia, whilst raising even more the efficiency of the system, thus creating a unique, competitive technology that can be implemented to support the hydrogen transition with negligible carbon footprint and environmental penalties.

What is funded

Start date July / October 2020. 3.5 years Full Time.

Tuition fees at the home/EU rate (£4,370 in 2019/20) and an annual stipend equivalent to current Research Council rates (approx. £15,009 stipend for academic year 2019/20), plus support for travel/conferences/consumables.

Overseas applicants must be able to self-fund the difference between the Home/EU and Overseas fees (£20,950 per annum in 2019/20) each year. Please indicate how you will cover this in your application.

Please contact Dr Agustin Valera-Medina ValeraMedinaA1@cardiff.ac.uk to informally discuss this opportunity


This studentship is open to Home, EU or International candidates.

Candidates should hold or expect to gain a first-class degree or a good 2.1 (or their equivalent) in Engineering or a related subject.

Desirable skills,

- Good Knowledge on combustion science and thermodynamics

- Preliminary/intermediate expertise on CFD modelling techniques

- Understanding of chemical reaction phenomena

- Previous research experience at a beginners/intermediate level

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language (IELTS 6.5 or equivalent)

How to Apply

Applicants should submit an application for postgraduate study via the Cardiff University webpages (http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/research/programmes/programme/engineering ) including;

• an upload of your CV

• a personal statement/covering letter

• two references (applicants are recommended to have a third academic referee, if the two academic referees are within the same department/school)

• Current academic transcripts

Applicants should select Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering), with a start date of July or October 2020.

In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select "I will be applying for a scholarship / grant" and specify that you are applying for advertised funding, reference AVM-PSE-2020


The responsibility for the funding offers published on this website, including the funding description, lies entirely with the publishing institutions. The application is handled uniquely by the employer, who is also fully responsible for the recruitment and selection processes.