Theoretical Development of Supersonic Compressors for High Efficiency Industrial Heat Pumps

Summary

The electrification of industrial heating processes is seen in conjunction with combinations of waste heat recovery applications, heat networks and geothermal energy resources which are part of the UK’s heat decarbonisation pathways. The aim of this research is to model advanced vapour compression heat pump technology that incorporates high-speed compressors to improve efficiency of high temperature lift industrial heat pumps.

Given that it is beneficial to also avoid environmental impacts directly caused by the working fluids, water (R718) will be initially considered as the working fluid. High Coefficients of Performance (COP ≥ 5) at lower temperature lifts for turbo (centrifugal) compressors have been achieved but challenges remain in terms of increases in impeller size with increased temperature lift, choice of bearings (gas-lubricated, magnetic etc), efficiency, compactness and the higher speeds and temperatures proposed. Speeds of 100,000 rpm to 650,000 rpm are now feasible at lower temperatures.

Thus, the novelty is to take this technology basis and model its operation at higher temperatures and pressures (that are well within standard refrigeration plant tolerances) in order to address a hard-to-treat sector of industrial heat decarbonisation. This is then a precursor to the development of a future experimental system.

Essential criteria

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study.

We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.

In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.

  • Clearly defined research proposal detailing background, research questions, aims and methodology

Funding and eligibility

The University offers the following levels of support:

Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £18,000 (tbc) maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance).

This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £8,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Department for the Economy (DFE)

The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £18,000 (tbc) per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance).

This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

  • Candidates with pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, who also satisfy a three year residency requirement in the UK prior to the start of the course for which a Studentship is held MAY receive a Studentship covering fees and maintenance.
  • Republic of Ireland (ROI) nationals who satisfy three years’ residency in the UK prior to the start of the course MAY receive a Studentship covering fees and maintenance (ROI nationals don’t need to have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to qualify).
  • Other non-ROI EU applicants are ‘International’ are not eligible for this source of funding.
  • Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Due consideration should be given to financing your studies. Further information on cost of living

Recommended reading

​Thermal characteristics of high-temperature R718 heat pumps with turbo compressor thermal vapor recompression, (2017), Milan N. Šarevski, Vasko N. Šarevski, Applied Thermal Engineering 117 (2017) 355–365

Small, High-Speed, Oil-Free Radial Turbo compressors for Cooling Applications: Refrigerant Selection (2018), Konstantinos Kontomaris, Cordin Arpagaus, Stefan S. Bertsch, Jürg Schiffmann, International Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Conference, Purdue University.

The performance comparison of high temperature heat pump among R718 and other refrigerants (2020) Di Wu, Bin Hu, R.Z. Wang, Haibin Fan, Rujin Wang, Renewable Energy 154 (2020)

Fleiter T, Elsland R, Rehfeldt M, Steinbach J, Reiter U, Catenazzi G, et al. Profile of heating and cooling demand in 2015 2017. https://heatroadmap.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/HRE4_D3.1.pdf.

Energy saving potential of high temperature heat pumps in the UK Food and Drink sector (2019) Samuel JG Cooper, Geoffrey P Hammond, Neil Hewitt, Jonathan B Norman, Savvas A Tassou, Walid Youssef, Energy Procedia, Volume 161, March 2019, Pages 142-149

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 27 February 2023
04:00PM

Interview Date
20 March 2023

Preferred student start date
18 September 2023

Applying

Apply Online  

Contact supervisor

Professor Neil Hewitt

Other supervisors

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