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Fully funded PhD studentship at the Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Hydrogen: Next generation zeolite membranes for H2 purification


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Wednesday 19 July 2023
Reference:  ENG1661

Do you want your PhD study to be part of a meaningful contribution towards a net-zero energy system?

Are you curious to discover how an energy research environment can be enriched through different perspectives from fellow researchers?

Can you contribute to the research and development of hydrogen-based solutions needed to meet the net-zero challenge?

An exciting PhD experience 

The Universities of Nottingham, Loughborough, Birmingham and Ulster have joined forces to become a national Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Hydrogen (SusHy CDT). The SusHy CDT is collaborating with over 40 companies and organisations to provide a new integrated PhD experience. You will join a multidisciplinary team of PhD researchers, supervised by world leading experts, with access to excellent research facilities across the Universities and our collaboration partners.

At the SusHy CDT, we recruit people with high academic ability and we aim to create a gender-balanced multidisciplinary team from a broad range of races, cultures, and social backgrounds. We are interested in your life experience, because we know there are too many technologies that unintentionally fail sections of the population (e.g. smart technologies developed using biased datasets). We believe listening to different perspectives can inform and improve our research. Diversity in our staff, partners and students helps us to challenge theories and improve understanding in order to design optimal hydrogen-based solutions. Being willing to share your insights is crucial to achieving a vibrant and creative research environment, contributing to the shared aim of investigating hydrogen innovations to meet the global energy challenge

Investment in you

The integrated PhD in Sustainable Hydrogen is a 4-year programme which, in addition to your research project, will include a combination of taught skills and experiential learning. The training programme we offer will support you throughout your PhD journey, providing the multidisciplinary training you’d expect, but also developing entrepreneurial, managerial and project skills along with the skills needed to communicate your ideas to a wide range of audiences. In addition, we provide opportunities to develop your skills through industrial secondments, outreach activities, industry challenge events and writing retreats. The SusHy community looks to support you by providing advice and guidance before starting your PhD and we have a Buddy Scheme to help you transition to PhD life. SusHy also offers free membership to our partner organisations, the Women’s Engineering Society and Women in Science and Engineering, and new female students will have a stakeholder mentor, who will be able to share her valuable insights.

Project Specification:

Zeolite membranes are one of most used porous crystalline materials, which are widely used in many applications, such as gas separation, adsorption and wastewater treatment. Their unique channel structure and rigid framework with defined pore size often provide a relatively efficient separation performance especially separating gas mixtures from each other. One of the drawbacks of the zeolite membranes is using organic templates that cause defect formation during high temperature activation after synthesis. The uniform pore structure without defects is high selectivity when gases like H2 is used due to small kinetic diameter. 

To eliminate the high temperature activation and defect formation, ionic liquids (ILs) have replaced the solvent and templates during the zeolite powder synthesis. Ionic liquid solvents are salts that are fluid at near-ambient temperatures and consist of ionic species. Using ILs during fabrication of zeolite membranes allows atmospheric pressure synthesis, due to the negligible vapour pressure of the ILs. Although there are examples of zeolite powder synthesis using ILs, zeolite membranes have not been explored with ILs that will transform zeolite synthesis especially for gas separation applications. Therefore, this project will explore development of zeolite membranes using ILs with enhanced H2 selectivity to enable membrane-based H2 purification from various gas mixtures. This project will be led by University of Nottingham supervisors Dr. Begum Tokay ( and Dr. Anna Croft. 


Join our research community

The SusHy CDT studentship covers UK tuition fees and provides a tax-free stipend of £19,568 pa. Studentship eligibility criteria are defined by the EPSRC. The project is available from October 2023.

Candidates need to show in their application an ability equivalent to a 1st or 2:1 honour degree or a postgraduate Master’s with distinction in Engineering or Physical Sciences or a related discipline. Applications are welcomed from candidates who have taken a non-traditional route, for example those who may have spent time in industry and are looking to return to education. International applicants will need to meet the relevant English language requirements.

Take a look at the available research projects, the application process and discover more about the SusHy CDT. –

Please apply here

When applying for this studentship, please include the reference number (beginning ENG and supervisors name) within the personal statement section of the application. This will help in ensuring your application is sent directly to the academic advertising the studentship. 

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

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