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PhD Opportunities within Hydrogen Safety Engineering and Research

Below is a list of PhD opportunities available for Hydrogen Safety Engineering Research (HySAFER)

  1. High-pressure hydrogen storage tank rupture in confined space
  2. Hydrogen safety engineering tools
  3. Safety of liquid hydrogen at refuelling stations
  4. Fire and explosion safety requirements to compressed gas composite vessels equipped with TPRD
  5. Modelling and simulations of blast wave and fireball from compressed gas tank rupture in a fire using open source software

Theme Title

High-pressure hydrogen storage tank rupture in confined space.

Named supervisors

Prof Vladimir Molkov, Dr Dmitriy Makarov, Dr Volodymyr Shentsov

Theme Description

Hydrogen-powered vehicles are already on a road. The worst case (low-probability high-consequences) accident scenario is a rupture of high-pressure hydrogen storage tank onboard of fuel cell vehicle in a fire. Such accidents are accompanied by a blast wave and fireball. While a number of experimental, analytical and numerical studies have been performed to understand the phenomenon and develop engineering tools, the hazards of the tank rupture in confined space like a tunnel is not yet studied. It is known that a blast wave propagates throughout the whole length of the tunnel practically without decay.

This study aims at understanding the hazards from a blast wave and fireball after hydrogen tank explosion in a tunnel and other confined spaces as a function of amount of stored opnboard hydrogen. The parametric numerical study has to be carried out for a number of tunnels with typical sizes, and for tank parameters characteristic for current fuel cell vehicles. The effect of barriers and obstacles on blast wave strength have to be addressed.

The objectives should include the development of hydrogen safety engineering tool for prediction of tank explosion overpressure in a tunnel, and suitable prevention and mitigation measures.

Outline of the Research Environment in which this project will take place e.g. facilities, equipment etc.

This research will be carried out within the HySAFER Centre, one of the key providers of hydrogen safety research and education globally. HySAFER is an international team of researchers with more than 90 man-years experience. The thrust is on analytical and numerical models for phenomena relevant to safety of hydrogen systems and infrastructure. The developed models are implemented using User Defined Functions of FLUENT software, etc.

Each researcher is provided by a PC and a powerful workstation for “number crunching”. The HySAFER team champions hydrogen safety research in the UK through the EPSRC SUPERGEN H2FC Hub and participates in major European projects relevant to hydrogen safety.

Skills required from the applicant: In delivery of this theme you will have an appropriate degree in (subject discipline) and possibly a relevant postgraduate qualification. The skills you bring will be…..

Knowledge of and experience with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), education in the area of mechanical engineering or similar disciplines enabling analytical modelling, numerical simulation of combustion, programming skills, assertiveness, writing and presentation skills, etc.

Describe the potential Interdisciplinary Research Options and/or Transferrable Skills that arise from the intended PhD research activity

Hydrogen safety is multi-disciplinary by itself and requires knowledge of fluid dynamics and heat transfer, thermodynamics and combustion, physics and mathematics, etc.

Outline the potential opportunities for International Networking and Industry Interaction that may enhance the PhD researchers’ future mobility

HySAFER collaborates with research centres, universities and industry around the globe with opportunities of networking with peers. Our analytical and numerical studies are often brought together with experimental studies of partners to close knowledge gaps and resolve technological bottlenecks in hydrogen safety science and engineering. This allows to achieve the synergy of efforts through complementarities of research methods, skills and experience with international partners. Results of HySAFER research are presented at international conferences, meetings of International Energy Agency Hydrogen Implementation Agreement Task 37 Hydrogen Safety, ISO TC197 Hydrogen Technologies, Research Priorities Workshops of the International Association for Hydrogen Safety, etc.


Theme Title

Hydrogen safety engineering tools.

Named Supervisors

Prof Vladimir Molkov, Dr Dmitriy Makarov

Theme Description

The state-of-the-art knowledge will be used to develop and maintain online toolbox for hydrogen safety engineering. The content of the toolbox will grow by new “bricks”, e.g. developed in this study and published validated tools. The safety engineering toolbox will include: under-expanded jet parameters model; models of blowdown of storage tank; hydrogen flame length correlation and three hazard distances for jet fires; the similarity law for concentration decay of hydrogen in momentum-dominated jets and hazard distances, i.e. flammable envelope; effect of buoyancy on hazard distances; pressure peaking phenomenon for unignited and ignited releases; passive and forced ventilation in an enclosure; correlations for mitigation of deflagration by venting technique; blast wave and fireball from high-pressure tank rupture in a fire; upper limit of hydrogen inventory in closed spaces like warehouse; nomogram for blowdown time as a function of storage pressure, volume, and diameter of thermally activated pressure relief device; thermal doze from hydrogen fireball after high-pressure hydrogen tank rupture in a fire; etc.

The candidate is expected to analyse existing and develop new analytical and numerical models, validate them against experiments, and finally implement into online tools for free access of stakeholders working in the hydrogen and fuel cell technologies field.

Outline of the Research Environment in which this project will take place e.g. facilities, equipment etc.

This research will be carried out within the HySAFER Centre, one of the key providers of hydrogen safety research and education globally. HySAFER is an international team of researchers with more than 90 man-years experience. The thrust is on analytical and numerical models for phenomena relevant to safety of hydrogen systems and infrastructure. The developed models are implemented using User Defined Functions of FLUENT software, etc.

Each researcher is provided by a PC and a powerful workstation for “number crunching”. The HySAFER team champions hydrogen safety research in the UK through the EPSRC SUPERGEN H2FC Hub, and participates in major European projects relevant to hydrogen safety.

Skills required from the applicant: In delivery of this theme you will have an appropriate degree in (subject discipline) and possibly a relevant postgraduate qualification. The skills you bring will be…..

Knowledge of and experience with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), education in the area of mechanical engineering or similar disciplines enabling analytical modelling, numerical simulation of combustion, programming skills, assertiveness, writing and presentation skills, etc.

Describe the potential Interdisciplinary Research Options and/or Transferrable Skills that arise from the intended PhD research activity

Hydrogen safety is multi-disciplinary by itself and requires knowledge of fluid dynamics and heat transfer, thermodynamics and combustion, physics and mathematics, etc.

Outline the potential opportunities for International Networking and Industry Interaction that may enhance the PhD researchers’ future mobility

HySAFER collaborates with research centres, universities and industry around the globe. This study relates to H2020 project NET-Tools. Our analytical and numerical studies are brought together with experimental studies of partners to close knowledge gaps and resolve technological bottlenecks in hydrogen safety science and engineering. This allows to achieve the synergy of efforts through complementarities of research methods, skills and experience with international partners. Results of HySAFER research are presented at international conferences, meetings of International Energy Agency Hydrogen Implementation Agreement Task 37 Hydrogen Safety, ISO TC197 Hydrogen Technologies, Research Priorities Workshops of the International Association for Hydrogen Safety, etc.


Theme Title

Safety of liquid hydrogen at refuelling stations.

Named Supervisors

Dr Dmitriy Makarov, Prof Vladimir Molkov

Theme Description

Refuelling stations with liquid hydrogen (LH2) offer economically more efficient hydrogen supply for fuel cell vehicles compared to compressed gaseous hydrogen (CGH2) stations. However, LH2 implies hazards, which are different from those associated with use of CGH2. Experience with LH2 in a distributed energy system is comparatively small compared to industrial practice of LH2. Involvement of public requires higher levels of safety provisions. Some related phenomea are yet to be understood and appropriate models and safety measures have to be developed for: multiphase release and dispersion of cryogenic hydrogen; heat transfer and flammability characteristics related to LH2 spills, cryogenic plumes and jets; explosions involving condensed or even solid oxygen and nitrogen in LH2; pressure and thermal hazards from cryogenic jets; flame acceleration and deflagration-to- detonation (DDT) transition in multiphase cold mixtures; etc.

In this study the suitability of tools developed previously for CGH2 to assess hazard distance for LH2 has to be revised based on an improved understanding of the physics and new models have to be developed and validated against experimental data. The safety advantages of LH2 over CGH2 offer a potential for inherently safer hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. However, this potential has to be thoroughly investigated and arguments presented.

Outline of the Research Environment in which this project will take place e.g. facilities, equipment etc.

This research will be carried out within the HySAFER Centre, one of the key providers of hydrogen safety research and education globally. HySAFER is an international team of researchers with more than 90 man-years experience. The thrust is on analytical and numerical models for phenomena relevant to safety of hydrogen systems and infrastructure. The developed models are implemented using User Defined Functions of FLUENT software, etc. Each researcher is provided by a PC and a powerful workstation for “number crunching”. The HySAFER team champions hydrogen safety research in the UK through the EPSRC SUPERGEN H2FC Hub, and participates in major European projects relevant to hydrogen safety.

Skills required from the applicant: In delivery of this theme you will have an appropriate degree in (subject discipline) and possibly a relevant postgraduate qualification. The skills you bring will be…..

Knowledge of and experience with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), education in the area of mechanical engineering or similar disciplines enabling analytical modelling, numerical simulation of combustion, programming skills, assertiveness, writing and presentation skills, etc.

Describe the potential Interdisciplinary Research Options and/or Transferrable Skills that arise from the intended PhD research activity

Hydrogen safety is multi-disciplinary by itself and requires knowledge of fluid dynamics and heat transfer, thermodynamics and combustion, physics and mathematics, etc.

Outline the potential opportunities for International Networking and Industry Interaction that may enhance the PhD researchers’ future mobility

Int HySAFER collaborates with research centres, universities and industry around the globe with opportunities of networking with peers. Our analytical and numerical studies are often brought together with experimental studies of partners to close knowledge gaps and resolve technological bottlenecks in hydrogen safety science and engineering. This allows to achieve the synergy of efforts through complementarities of research methods, skills and experience with international partners. Results of HySAFER research are presented at international conferences, meetings of International Energy Agency Hydrogen Implementation Agreement Task 37 Hydrogen Safety, ISO TC197 Hydrogen Technologies, Research Priorities Workshops of the International Association for Hydrogen Safety, etc.


Theme Title

Fire and explosion safety requirements to compressed gas composite vessels equipped with TPRD.

Named Supervisors

Dr Dmitriy Makarov, Prof Vladimir Molkov

Theme Description

European and global regulations require high-pressure onboard hydrogen storage tanks to be equipped by thermally activate pressure relief device (TPRD). This is to prevent a catastrophic failure of the tank in the case of fire. Recent research at Ulster revealed the pressure peaking phenomenon (PPP) for hydrogen, i.e. “abnormal” increase of pressure in confined vented space like a garage, which is capable to destroy the garage in fractions of a second if diameter of TPRD is comparatively large. To prevent PPP car manufacturers are decreasing TPRD diameter. However, it is not clear how far this reduction of TPRD diameter could go. Indeed, the blowdown through smaller diameter could take longer time and, thus, jeopardise the tank integrity in a fire followed by devastating blast wave and fireball. There are other parameters that affect the reliability of tank protection by TPRD, which include the time of TPRD initiation after the tank or its part are subject to fire and heat flux to the tank.

This study aims at development of requirements to high-pressure composite storage of compressed gas equipped by TPRD. The candidate will develop analytical and numerical models to solve conjugate heat and mass transfer problem to develop the requirements.

Outline of the Research Environment in which this project will take place e.g. facilities, equipment etc.

This research will be carried out within the HySAFER Centre, one of the key providers of hydrogen safety research and education globally. HySAFER is an international team of researchers with more than 90 man-years experience. The thrust is on analytical and numerical models for phenomena relevant to safety of hydrogen systems and infrastructure. The developed models are implemented using User Defined Functions of FLUENT software, etc. Each researcher is provided by a PC and a powerful workstation for “number crunching”. The HySAFER team champions hydrogen safety research in the UK through the EPSRC SUPERGEN H2FC Hub, and participates in major European projects relevant to hydrogen safety.

Skills required from the applicant: In delivery of this theme you will have an appropriate degree in (subject discipline) and possibly a relevant postgraduate qualification. The skills you bring will be…..

Knowledge of and experience with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), education in the area of mechanical engineering or similar disciplines enabling analytical modelling, numerical simulation of combustion, programming skills, assertiveness, writing and presentation skills, etc.

Describe the potential Interdisciplinary Research Options and/or Transferrable Skills that arise from the intended PhD research activity

Hydrogen safety is multi-disciplinary by itself and requires knowledge of fluid dynamics and heat transfer, thermodynamics and combustion, physics and mathematics, etc.

Outline the potential opportunities for International Networking and Industry Interaction that may enhance the PhD researchers’ future mobility

HySAFER collaborates with research centres, universities and industry around the globe with opportunities of networking with peers. Our analytical and numerical studies are often brought together with experimental studies of partners to close knowledge gaps and resolve technological bottlenecks in hydrogen safety science and engineering. This allows to achieve the synergy of efforts through complementarities of research methods, skills and experience with international partners. Results of HySAFER research are presented at international conferences, meetings of International Energy Agency Hydrogen Implementation Agreement Task 37 Hydrogen Safety, ISO TC197 Hydrogen Technologies, Research Priorities Workshops of the International Association for Hydrogen Safety, etc.


Theme Title

Modelling and simulations of blast wave and fireball from compressed gas tank rupture in a fire using open source software.

Named Supervisors

Dr Dmitriy Makarov, Prof Vladimir Molkov

Theme Description

Numerical experiments using thoroughly validated CFD tools are able in many cases to substitute expensive and hazardous field tests. Open source software like OpenFOAM can be used free of license to simulate different scenarios of accidents with alternative fuels as well as for training of doctoral students.

This study aims at modelling and validation of simulations of blast wave and fireball using open source software. The experience and previously developed and validated at Ulster models of blast wave and fireball using general purpose CFD software ANSYS FLUENT could be of assistance to the candidate. The model is expected to be built on the use of real gas equation of state. The combustion model could be based on the eddy dissipation concept model by Magnussen with inclusion of chemistry or similar models. Simulations with use of open source software have to be verified against available simulations with use of FLUENT and validated against experimental data as required. It is expected that the study will include consequences analysis for alternative fuels: hydrogen, LNG, CNG, and LPG.

Outline of the Research Environment in which this project will take place e.g. facilities, equipment etc.

This research will be carried out within the HySAFER Centre, one of the key providers of hydrogen safety research and education globally. HySAFER is an international team of researchers with more than 90 man-years experience. The thrust is on analytical and numerical models for phenomena relevant to safety of hydrogen systems and infrastructure. The developed models are implemented using User Defined Functions of FLUENT software, etc. Each researcher is provided by a PC and a powerful workstation for “number crunching”. The HySAFER team champions hydrogen safety research in the UK through the EPSRC SUPERGEN H2FC Hub, and participates in major European projects relevant to hydrogen safety.

Skills required from the applicant: In delivery of this theme you will have an appropriate degree in (subject discipline) and possibly a relevant postgraduate qualification. The skills you bring will be…..

Knowledge of and experience with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), education in the area of mechanical engineering or similar disciplines enabling analytical modelling, numerical simulation of combustion, programming skills, assertiveness, writing and presentation skills, etc.

Describe the potential Interdisciplinary Research Options and/or Transferrable Skills that arise from the intended PhD research activity

Hydrogen safety is multi-disciplinary by itself and requires knowledge of fluid dynamics and heat transfer, thermodynamics and combustion, physics and mathematics, etc.

Outline the potential opportunities for International Networking and Industry Interaction that may enhance the PhD researchers’ future mobility

HySAFER collaborates with research centres, universities and industry around the globe. This study relates to H2020 project NET-Tools. Our analytical and numerical studies are brought together with experimental studies of partners to close knowledge gaps and resolve technological bottlenecks in hydrogen safety science and engineering. This allows to achieve the synergy of efforts through complementarities of research methods, skills and experience with international partners. Results of HySAFER research are presented at international conferences, meetings of International Energy Agency Hydrogen Implementation Agreement Task 37 Hydrogen Safety, ISO TC197 Hydrogen Technologies, Research Priorities Workshops of the International Association for Hydrogen Safety, etc.