This opportunity is now closed.

Funded PhD Opportunity

Nanoparticles based Solar Energy and Energy Storage (Nano_SEES) System

Subject: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning


Summary

Renewable energy, especially solar energy (heat and electricity) and energy storage (SEES) has a great potential to address issues of energy security, access, affordability and a climate change. SEES systems are widely used in various combination in developing countries for different applications. Such systems have great potential in remote location and in agricultural sector of developing countries. However, it possesses some limitation in terms of efficient heat transfer and hence possess challenges of size, weight, efficiency and cost.

The proposed project focuses on the development of nanoparticles and novel multi-component nanofluids as a novelty, and a less investigated area of research. Nanoparticles will be used to enhance heat transfer and/or coating medium to increase heat transfer in SEES system. The challenge will be to create novel nanofluids which will absorb across most of the solar spectrum while remaining chemically and mechanically stable. Understanding thermal properties at the nanoscale is still very limited and this project aims to advance significantly in understanding such important phenomena for SEES system.

The project will operate in three stages.

First stage (year 1) of the project will focus on nanoparticle and nanofluid review, selection, synthesis and characterisation for the proposed application. For nanoparticle characterisation and synthesis purpose, facilities available at NIBEC will be used.

Second stage (year 2) will focus on Nano_SEES system design, size, selection and experimental facility development for an agricultural (e.g. drying) sector and/or remote area in developing countries (e.g. Africa, India). For Nano_SEES prototype development and testing, indoor and outdoor facilities at Centre for Sustainable Technologies (CST) will be used.

Third stage (year 3) will focus on experiments on Nano_SEES prototype and simulation of system performance in different climatic conditions using validated model. In addition, techno-economic and analysis will be carried out for various locations considering footprint, cost and efficiency. For simulation and techno-economic analysis purposes software tools (e.g.TRNSYS, Matlab) available at CST will be used.

In order to support technical and/or social/commercial side of project work existing links of CST and NIBEC with industry, universities and research organisation will be used to get data (also for field trials) and to procure materials/components (e.g. nanoparticles). The outcome of the project will provide potential for enhanced heat transfer for Solar thermal/PV and energy storage system. This will result in reduced system size, weight and capital cost with increased system efficiency.

The proposed project is well aligned with theme of “Sustainability” as it addresses issues of energy access, affordable energy and environment. In addition, overall impact of the project would also address “Social renewal” theme by empowering population involved in agricultural sector of developing countries. The project holds great potential for impact for agricultural/remote are of developing countries as it will enhance energy access due to small system size that can be easily transported, managed and maintained locally for agricultural and domestic application. This will result in agricultural output, employment and safety.


Essential criteria

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.
  • Clearly defined research proposal detailing background, research questions, aims and methodology

Funding

    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for 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 £15,000 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.

    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 £7,500 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.

    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.

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. 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.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Friday 7 February 2020

Interview Date
Week beginning 9 March 2020


Applying

Apply Online  


Campus

Jordanstown campus

Jordanstown campus
The largest of Ulster's campuses


Contact supervisor

Dr Nikhilkumar Shah


Other supervisors

Related Funded Opportunities

Architecture, Built Environment and Planning

Subject: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning

 View details