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Funded PhD Opportunity

Phase Change and Alternative Materials for Domestic Thermal Energy Storage

This project is funded by: Interreg VA/SEUPB

Subject: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning


Summary

Applications are invited for a studentship in Energy Storage & Demand Side Response. Energy storage and Demand Side Response are essential elements of large scale renewable energy integration. Global energy demands are growing and in order to ensure an environmentally sustainable future, such growth must be achieved primarily with renewable energy resources. However the variable energy supply from the most likely renewable energy sources (wind and solar) requires temporal management and therefore energy storage and demand side response will see a huge increase in demand.

Candidates should hold, or expect to hold a first or upper second class honours degree in Engineering, Computer Science, Science, or a cognate area. Applications will be considered on a competitive basis with regard to the candidate’s qualifications, skills experience and interests. Successful candidates will enrol as soon as possible, on a full-time programme of research studies leading to the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

The Research topics proposed are in the areas of Energy Storage and Demand Side Response. We are particularly interested in proposals within Phase Change and Alternative Materials for Thermal Energy Storage. Phase Change and Alternative Materials for Domestic  Thermal Energy Storage

Duration: 3 Years Supervisors: Professor Philip Griffiths and Dr Mingjun Huang

Background: In managing demand side response for the integration of variable renewable energy, the electrification of space heating requires thermal storage. Traditional water based systems are excellent at addressing variable temperatures for optimum heat pump performance i.e. heat supplies at the desired temperature for thermal comfort according to daily and seasonal needs. However such thermal storage takes up considerable valuable space within the home and alternative approaches are required. Higher energy density materials such as phase change materials (PCM) and thermochemical materials have possibilities in terms of high energy density but may need high performance, high temperature heat pumps to realise their full potential.

Aim: The aim is to first assess an existing PCM unit, understanding the heat exchanger design challenges between a hydronic heating system and the PCM. Once established, best practice in heat exchanger design and materials selection for domestic heating applications will lead to a revised design, which will be modelled, built, laboratory tested and field trialled. Alternative materials such as thermochemical based combinations will also be considered with a view of overall system performance efficiency.

Outputs - Scientific & Impact: Advanced yet cost effective heat exchangers for PCMs will realise new thermal storage designs. Thermochemical based designs with theoretically higher energy densities will increase compactness and allow greater flexibility in deployment. Overall greater temperature flexibility will allow greater ease of integration with heat pumps for example.


Essential criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • First Class Honours (1st) Degree
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal

Funding

This project is funded by: Interreg VA/SEUPB


This project is supported by the European Union's INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Interreg VA Spire 2


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 9 April 2018

Interview Date
16 May 2018


Contact supervisor

Professor Philip Griffiths


Other supervisors


Applying

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