Prevention and mitigation of incidents involving hydrogen use in a domestic setting

This project is funded by:

  • SusHY


With a growing interest in the introduction of hydrogen to the natural gas grid, and its resultant use, including pure hydrogen, in homes for heating, cooking and power supply it is important to understand the specific hazards and associated risks pertinent to the use of hydrogen in a domestic setting. Appliances such as fuel cells, boilers, and burners, are being developed specifically for use with hydrogen and hydrogen blends.

Validated contemporary CFD models and reduced engineering tools for reliable prediction of an incident dynamics in a residential setting are needed for reliable hydrogen safety engineering. Safety challenges include understanding the behaviour of a leak of hydrogen or hydrogen blends, including harmful impurities, validation of the similarity law for concentration decay in momentum-dominated jets for blends, application of the under-expanded jet theory to blends, assessment of leak and dispersion of flammable gas from flanges and joints, safety strategies to exclude accumulation of flammable mixtures, and appropriate venting strategies.

The effect of buoyancy on the release of hydrogen blends could also be investigated. Hydrogen specific prevention and mitigation concepts are needed to efficiently tackle hydrogen dispersion and combustion in residential environments. There is a need to understand and exclude the potential thermal and pressure effects of an incident on the integrity of the property.

This doctoral study could incorporate elements of the following:

  • Identification and prioritisation of relevant knowledge gaps.
  • Theoretical and numerical studies to close knowledge gaps and address technological bottlenecks.
  • Development of innovative safety strategies and engineering solutions to prevent and mitigate incidents with hydrogen and its blends in domestic settings.
  • Determination and characterisation of specific hazard and associated risks.
  • Development and validation of novel engineering tools required for hazards and risk assessment.
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of conventional and innovative prevention and mitigation techniques and incident management strategies concerning specific hazards implied with the use of hydrogen or its blends in domestic settings, etc.

The expected impact of the study could include: validated contemporary CFD models and engineering tools for hydrogen safety engineering; deeper knowledge of the underlying physical phenomena; innovative prevention and mitigation strategies; guidelines for inherently safer design and use of hydrogen in a domestic setting, etc. The study will focus on a combination of theoretical and numerical (CFD) studies, the use of ANSYS Fluent as a computational engine, multi-processor Linux-based hardware of HPC suite, etc. The results of this doctoral research will be aligned to HySAFER’s externally funded projects and reported at international conferences as relevant.

Publication of results in peer-reviewed journals is expected.

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

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.

  • Masters at 65%

Funding and eligibility

This project is funded by:

  • SusHY
  • These fully funded scholarships include a tax-free stipend of £16,909 per annum, subject to satisfactory progress over a 4 year period, tuition fees, and a research budget. These awards are open to home/EU and overseas applicants.

    The Doctoral College at Ulster University

    Key dates

    Submission deadline
    Friday 5 February 2021

    Interview Date
    April 2021

    Preferred student start date
    Mid-September 2021


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    Contact supervisor

    Dr Sile Brennan

    Other supervisors

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