Summary

Compressed gases energy storage technologies are widely used in different areas of our life. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), Compressed Gaseous Hydrogen (CGH2) vehicles and buses are hitting the roads, hydrogen trains and ships are at demonstration phase.

The number of CNG vehicles has been growing exponentially in the last two decades. Safety is of paramount importance for compressed gas storage systems and infrastructure. “Fire is the single leading cause of in-service failures involving CNG fuel systems on-board vehicles” (CSA Group). The main unresolved issue facing the compressed gas energy storage sector is a catastrophic rupture of lightweight composite pressure vessel (CPV) in a fire followed by devastating blast wave, fireball and projectiles. Fire resistance rating (FRR) of today’s CPV, i.e. time in a fire before rupture, is only 4-8 min (gasoline fire during at accident). This is comparable with time of self-evacuation from a car at an accident scene and arrival of firemen. There were 23,100 road vehicle fires in Great Britain in 2013-14.

Catastrophic rupture of CPV in a fire is a serious threat to life and property. Such accidents are not acceptable. They must be excluded through the innovative engineering of CPV. The project seeks to resolve this key safety issue through the development and validation of the breakthrough leak-no-burst (LNB) safety technology for prevention of CPV catastrophic rupture in a fire. Inherently safer compressed gas storage systems will support the deployment of greener, secure and affordable energy supplies in low carbon sector, helping UK to meet ambitious carbon emissions targets. The compressed gas transport must provide at least the same level of hazards and risk as for fossil vehicles, which is not yet the case. This research is strongly linked from the beginning with industry, both directly and through collaboration with international standard development organisations (SDOs) and regulators (UN GTR#13 IWG SGS).

The project results will assist to update current Regulations, Codes and Standards (RCS). The research is focused on investigation of the LNB safety technology in variety of options following Ulster University’s Intellectual Property (European Application No 18706224.5, "Composite Vessel for Hydrogen Storage“, 12 February 2018). This breakthrough technology will provide hydrogen industry by explosion free in a fire tank. It does not require the use of thermally activated pressure relief devices (TPRD).

The project aim will be achieved through realisation of the following objectives:

- Perform hazard and risk analysis of compressed gas storage technologies;

- Critically analyse case studies and best safety practices, develop spectrum of typical accident scenarios;

- Measure or calculate properties of CPV and thermal protection materials to be used in the modelling;

- Develop and validate a model of CPV performance in fire, including localised fires;

- Carry out a numerical study on the effect of material properties on performance of explosion-free in a fire tanks;

- Undertake outdoor and indoor fire tests to validate this innovative safety technology (in collaboration with other projects in HySAFER);

- Formulate recommendations for the update of RCS


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