Postgraduate research opportunities New methods of carbon capture using green materials


Key facts

  • Opens: Friday 3 February 2023
  • Number of places: 1
  • Duration: 3 years


The project aims to address the issues related to low capacity and poor kinetics of sorbents used for post combustion carbon dioxide capture applications.
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Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering/science discipline, and be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
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Project Details

The Paris Agreement set the goal of limiting the post-industrial global temperature increase to 1.5 °C and reducing the impact of point-source emitters of contributing greenhouse gases is essential in realising this ambition. Consequently, efforts have been made to reduce the impact of coal-fired power stations; however, the parasitic load of carbon capture processes for post-combustion removal are estimated to be more than 30% of the energy produced at source, reducing the efficiency of the plant, and impacting on the benefits of such processes. Hence, there is a need to work towards a solution that offers environmental and economic benefits in a holistic process from systems development to application.

This project focusses on the use of solid, regenerable materials, known as sorbents, to adsorb carbon dioxide and remove it from process streams. The materials produced within the study will be based on sustainable feedstocks, constituting waste products from other sectors, which can be valorised by conversion into adsorbents. Such materials will be subject to pyrolysis to lock in the porous nature of the feedstock, and preventing routes to degradation. There is also scope to physically and chemically modify the materials to enhance their interactions with the target gas. The project builds on work within the Fletcher group [1-3] and will allow the candidate to address the global challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide and methane, as well as addressing the production chain for sorbent materials. The candidate will identify and source precursor materials, allowing synthesis of a range of sorbents, their modification and full characterisation. These materials will also be studied for their performance in static and dynamic adsorption systems, providing data on capacity (how much gas can be stored), kinetics (how quickly the gas can be removed and the material regenerated), as well as competition with other species, e.g. other flue gas constituents, including water vapour. This will provide a more realistic view of the impact that these materials could have in carbon capture applications.

All Strathclyde PhD students undertake the Strathclyde Researcher Development programme (PGCert), which provides a framework for skills and knowledge development, with the award of the separate qualification in conjunction with the PhD. Additionally, all PhD students are automatically enrolled in the Strathclyde Doctoral School, providing opportunities for students to network and intensifying their research dissemination.

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:

Further information


[1] Principe, I. A. & Fletcher, A. J., 2020, Adsorption. 26, 5, 723-735.
[2] Principe, I. A., Murdoch, B., Flannigan, J. M. & Fletcher, A. J., 2018, Materials Today Chemistry. 195-205.
[3] Carrington, E. J., McAnally, C. A., Fletcher, A. J., Thompson, S. P., Warren, M., Brammer, L., 2017, Nature Chemistry. 9, 9, 882-889.

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Funding details

This PhD project is initially offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with their own funding, or those applying to funding sources. However, excellent candidates will be eligible to be considered for a University scholarship.

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Professor Ashleigh Fletcher

Chemical and Process Engineering

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Please quote the project title in your application.

During the application you'll be asked for the following information and evidence uploaded to the application:

  • your full contact details
  • transcripts and certificates of all degrees
  • proof of English language proficiency if you are not from a majority English-speaking country as recognised by UKVI
  • two references, one of which must be academic. Please see our guidance on referees
  • funding or scholarship information
  • international students must declare any previous UK study

By filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the University.

Useful resources

Number of places: 1

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Chemical and Process Engineering

Programme: Chemical and Process Engineering

Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024

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Contact us

James Weir Building
75 Montrose Street
Glasgow, G1 1XJ