PhD Hydrogen Fuel Cells and their Applications


Program Description

The Midlands Energy Consortium comprises the universities of Nottingham, Birmingham, and Loughborough as well leading industry partners. Students have the opportunity to become specialists in the new sustainable technologies of the future.

Within the CDT, there are 50 academics across several disciplines, focusing on chemical engineering, but including chemistry, physics, mathematics, materials, social science and built environment. These specialists contribute to the five main research themes:

  • Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells
  • Solid oxide fuel cells
  • Portable fuel cells
  • Hydrogen production and storage
  • Electrolysis

Within these themes, there are projects on catalysis, nanoparticles, membranes, fluids, hydrogen storage materials, and consumer responses. Where industry has wanted student projects, there has been a strong focus on product areas, such as fuel cells for aircraft (EADS), clean transport of refrigerated materials (Unilever) and electrolysis for an onsite generation (ITM Power).

Through the four year PhD programme, doctoral researchers will receive an overview of energy issues from multidisciplinary perspectives, in addition to developing individual specializations through research projects.

This course requires a 2:1 or international equivalent and/or a master's degree at merit level or above in a relevant subject, and an IELTS level 6.0 (5.5 in each element). It is usually completed over a period of around four years.


Doctoral researchers have access to the latest thinking, training, research and state-of-the-art scientific equipment across all three partner universities. More than £20 million has been invested in facilities that include:

  • olyser (ITM Power; HPac Model)
  • hydrogen compressor (Haskel; 86992-54827 Model)
  • fleet of fuel cell vehicles (Microcab Ltd)
  • hydrogen refuelling station (Air Products Series 100) and a series of valves, pumps and control systems
  • class 1000 cleanroom with high temperature (1800oC) annealing furnace
  • multi-purpose energy efficient pneumatic drive test rig
  • hybrid fuel testing laboratory; real-time control development system
  • 3.2m2 variable-tilt solar simulator; large environmental chambers
  • range of dynamometers from 700-3,200Nm
  • battery simulation and cyclers up 250kW
  • thermal systems testing
  • sophisticated heat transfer, monitoring, testing and analysis
  • internal combustion engine test facility
  • capability for modelling and simulating power plants.

Research support

Support for Postgraduate Research students is coordinated through the Faculty Research Office. Each PhD student will have a main academic supervisor and at least one additional supervisor. Regular formal supervision meetings, usually once a month, will take place with one or both of your supervisors. We also provide academic postgraduate advisors and student PGR reps who are available if you have a query about procedures relating to research study, are concerned about your progress or the facilities available. All PhD students are enrolled in the Faculty of Engineering Training Programme, this is a structured programme of training drawing on formal external frameworks such as Joint Skills Statement, the Research Development Framework (RDF) and the Research Council guidance. The Engineering and Science Research Council (EPSRC) has recognised our Faculty programme as a sector leading standard of postgraduate research development and training. The faculty has excellent links with industry and will ensure you develop transferable skills that will be of benefit in a variety of careers. You will also have access to the Graduate School’s Researcher Development Programme.

Entry Requirements

  • Entry requirements: 2.1 (or international equivalent) and / or a masters at merit level or above in a relevant subject
  • IELTS: 6.0 (no less than 5.5 in each element)
Last updated Nov 2018

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About the School

TheFaculty of Engineering at Nottinghamis known for its world-class research, inspirational teaching, and diverse academic community.

TheFaculty of Engineering at Nottinghamis known for its world-class research, inspirational teaching, and diverse academic community. Read less
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