Mechanical Engineering


E-Fuels for Low Emission Gas Turbine Combustors

A fully funded EPSRC PhD studentship in E-Fuels for Low Emission Gas Turbine Combustors

E-Fuels for Low Emission Gas Turbine Combustors: EPSRC PhD Studentship

Key information

Lead supervisors: Prof Rama Balachandran and Dr Midhat Talibi
Application deadline: 15 August 2024
Project start date: 01 October 2024
Project duration: 4 years
Studentship funding: Home tuition fees (currently £6,035/year) and maintenance stipend (currently £22,737/year) for 4 years

About the Project

Gas turbines are essential components of the future energy mix, with direct applications in power generation, gas compression, marine and aerospace propulsion. To address environmental challenges and meet stringent regulatory limits on the emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, manufacturers are developing turbines that can operate with e-fuels, such as methanol, which offers a viable alternative to fossil fuels. Although existing gas turbines offer considerable fuel flexibility, operation with these non-conventional fuels is still challenging due to issues of significant changes in flame behaviour, ignition characteristics and pollutant formation.

This EPSRC industrial CASE studentship supported by Siemens Energy involves an experimental investigation to study combustion characteristics of e-fuel (methanol) sprays relevant to modern gas turbines. Advanced optical diagnostic techniques will be extensively employed in the project to study influence of fuel and spray properties on flame micro- and macrostructure characteristics and dynamics using highly resolved, non-intrusive laser diagnostic techniques such planar laser induced fluorescence (PLIF), planar image velocimetry (PIV), laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), etc.

The project will also have an emphasis on the design and development of experimental infrastructure and methodology. The scientific outcomes from this project have the potential to positively influence the product development of the industrial partner, Siemens Energy, in the short- to medium- term, and in the long-term, help in the development of low-carbon gas turbines.

About the role 

The selected candidate will be embedded within a team of specialist researchers at UCL Mechanical Engineering and will regularly liaise with other academic and industrial partners associated with this project. The position will also offer opportunities to engage in teaching activities, and work with researchers and engineers in the Energy and Environment group.

As a PhD student at UCL, the candidate will benefit from training in high-impact research and access to state-of-the-art laboratories. Furthermore, the candidate will be encouraged to publish work in leading journals and present findings in national/international conferences.

About you 

  • Applicants are expected to have obtained a 1st class or upper 2:1 degree in engineering, chemistry, physics or related discipline, with an interest in experimental work and data analysis.
  • Excellent organisational, interpersonal and communication skills are essential.
  • Background in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, design (CAD), LabVIEW and MATLAB is desirable.

What we offer 

Please note that the available funding supports tuition fees at the Home/UK rate (currently £6,035 per year). Students who are eligible to pay fees at the UK rate are welcome to apply (e.g. UK students or EEA or Swiss nationals who are “settled” or “pre-settled” within the UK in accordance with the EU Settlement Scheme). Please refer to our website for further information about Home tuition fee eligibility.

International students who are eligible to pay tuition fees at the Overseas rate (currently £31,100 per year) are also welcome to apply, however the tuition fees covered by the studentship will be limited to the Home/UK level. International students will be required to find additional funding for the remaining Overseas tuition fees.

Applicants whose first language is not English are required to meet UCL's English language entry requirements.

Please refer to this webpage for full eligibility criteria: Mechanical Engineering MPhil/PhD.

How to apply

Eligible applicants should first contact Professor Rama Balachandran (r.balachandran@ucl.ac.uk) and Dr Midhat Talibi (m.talibi@ucl.ac.uk). Please enclose:

  • a one-page statement outlining suitability for the project
  • two pages CV (including contact details of two referees).

The supervisory team will arrange interviews for short-listed candidates.

After interview, the successful candidate will be given instructions to formally apply online via the UCL website. For further information, see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospectivestudents/graduate/research/application.