Safety of compressed hydrogen storage systems for maritime applications

Apply and key information  


Early rollout of maritime hydrogen-fuelled transport is taking place in the form of relatively small-scale applications and demonstration projects – service vessels, pilot boats, short-range costal ferries, etc., where hydrogen is expected to be stored in composite high-pressure tanks with nominal working pressure NWP=350-700 bar. The proposed PhD research will be executed at HySAFER Centre of Ulster University alongside of related projects with industry.

The aim of this doctoral study is the development of safety engineering solutions for compressed hydrogen storage systems (CHSS) in maritime applications. The objectives of the project are:

Perform a comprehensive review of regulatory framework, hydrogen storage solutions and research publications in the context of maritime applications, propose detailed hazards analysis, ranked list of incident scenarios and quantify the pressure and thermal hazards associated with CHSS.

Formulate modelling strategies for identified hazards.

Develop and validate comprehensive model(s) for simulation of incident scenarios onboard a vessel.

Simulate selected incident scenarios.

Suggest safety strategy and feasible engineering solutions;

Disseminate the obtained results using appropriate channels - peer-reviewed publications, presentations and professional and scientific gatherings, stakeholders meetings, etc.

The successful PhD candidate will work in a close cooperation with the project team on modelling and simulation of hydrogen storage behaviour under design and off-design conditions and in realistic incident scenarios, where hydrogen tank rupture is considered as the worst case scenario. Modelling thermal and pressure hazards in the considered scenarios is of particular importance to steer development of novel mitigation strategies and solutions to underpin the development of the IGF Code. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Finite Elements Modelling (FEM) are anticipated to be the research tools. Coupling of these contemporary methods could be applied for modelling structural response of vessel design to thermal and pressure effects following hydrogen storage incidents.

Ulster University has an extensive track record of using ANSYS Fluent as a CFD engine for development of CFD models and their use for hydrogen safety engineering. The candidate will have an opportunity to run numerical simulations using the fleet of powerful workstations available at HySAFER Centre and Northern Ireland High-Performance Computing (NI-HPC) Kelvin-2 facility (

The proposed PhD project is expected to develop leading edge numerical models for analysis of hazards related to CHSS, close knowledge gaps and formulate novel safety strategies and engineering solutions to prevent/mitigate incidents with hydrogen storage onboard of maritime vessels. The results will be disseminated in peer-reviewed journal publications and feed further development of maritime safety regulation.

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

Equal Opportunities

The University is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applicants from all sections of the community, particularly from those with disabilities.

Appointment will be made on merit.

Funding and eligibility

The University offers the following levels of support:

Department for the Economy (DFE)

The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £19,237 (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

Molkov V (2012) Fundamentals of Hydrogen Safety Engineering, Part I (ISBN 978-87-403-0226-4) and Part II (ISBN 978-87-403-0279-0), free download e-book,

Dadashzadeh M, Kashkarov S, Makarov D, Molkov V, Risk assessment methodology for onboard hydrogen storage, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Volume 43, Issue 12, 22 March 2018, Pages 6462-6475.

Kashkarov S, Makarov D, Molkov V. Effect of a heat release rate on reproducibility of fire test for hydrogen storage cylinders. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Volume 43, Issue 21, 24 May 2018, Pages 10185-10192.

Makarov D, Shentsov V, Kuznetsov M, Molkov V. Pressure peaking phenomenon: Model validation against unignited release and jet fire experiments. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Volume 43, Issue 19, 10 May 2018, Pages 9454-9469.

Kashkarov S, Makarov D, Molkov V.‎ Performance of hydrogen storage tanks of Type IV ‎in a ‎fire: effect of the state of charge. Hydrogen, 2021, 2, 386–398.

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Friday 30 June 2023

Interview Date
to be arranged

Preferred student start date
18 September 2023


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Contact supervisor

Professor Dmitriy Makarov

Other supervisors