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PhD Studentship: Green Production of Ammonia


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Tuesday 12 March 2024
Reference:  ENG1929

This fully funded PhD studentship is based within the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham, contributing to cutting edge research into clean energy technologies.  We are seeking a highly talented candidate to conduct fundamental research into a novel approach to producing ammonia with low carbon emissions.

Vision and Motivation

As an essential ingredient for most food fertilisers, ammonia is helping to feed over half of the world’s population. With a growing population to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, the demand for ammonia is expected to increase by nearly 50%. Alternatively, ammonia plays a significant role in the transition towards a hydrogen economy, as it is a carrier for hydrogen. The current manufacturing of ammonia via Haber-Bosch process (N2 +H2 -> NH3) is almost exclusively relying on fossil fuels to provide hydrogen. This directly produces 2% of global carbon emissions. To sustain human life without exacerbating climate change, cleaner production of ammonia must be urgently implemented. This PhD project will investigate next generation ammonia production technology directly from N2 and water. You will access to the state-of-art equipment to explore different materials and novel tools such as plasma to maximise the performance of producing ammonia. In this interdisciplinary research, you will not only benefit from the expertise from University of Nottingham, but also work closely with our collaborators (e.g. University of Cambridge).


The overall aim will be to investigate a new reaction scheme for producing ammonia from N2 and water. 

In this interdisciplinary project, you will: 

  • Review the state-of-the-art technologies for low emission approaches to ammonia production, and particularly chemical looping.
  • Screen and develop materials for fixing N2 and producing ammonia at mild conditions.
  • Develop a plasma-assisted system to facilitate ammonia production.

The outcome of this project will demonstrate the potential of a low-cost and low emission approaching to producing ammonia in a cyclic process, contributing to the realisation of engineering net-zero.

Who we are looking for

  • 1st class or equivalent in chemical engineering, material science, chemistry, or a related discipline. 2:1 may also be considered if other criteria are met.
  • Good writing and communication skills.
  • Self-motivated candidate.

Funding support

Both UK and international applicants are considered for this position. Upon finding the successful candidate, funding is acquired through the University of Nottingham. 

How to Apply?

Please send your CV, academic transcripts, and a cover letter outlining your experiences and research interests to Dr Yaoyao Zheng ( Informal enquiries could also be sent to this email.

Closing Date:

Applications are evaluated on a rolling basis until a suitable candidate is appointed. 

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

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