Self-funded students are welcome to apply for a PhD project to study the potential use of ammonia-based ionic liquids for chemical conversion of CO2. Outstanding candidates from UK and EU may be eligible for a PhD scholarship (please contact Dr Tudela-Montes for further details).
Since the First Industrial Revolution started in the mid-1700s, anthropogenic impact has led to an estimated 40% increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. CO2 is the primary cause of the greenhouse effect responsible for climate change and the main target of mitigation actions to fight it. The electrochemical reduction of CO2 is a promising approach to utilising CO2 that offers unique advantages: 1) conversion of CO2 to added-value chemicals, and 2) conversion of hard-to-store excess electricity from renewable sources into easy-to-store energy in chemical form.
Absorption of CO2 on aqueous ammonia solutions represent a promising option to capture CO2 after combustion processes and concentrate CO2 for its further utilisation. Nevertheless, NH3-CO2 reactions in aqueous media can be fairly complex, depending on the temperature and operating conditions of the process. The present project aims at using ammonia-based ionic liquids with minimal water content as an alternative to aqueous ammonia solutions for CO2 capture and utilisation. Special focus will be put on the possible chemical reactions between highly solvated ammonia and CO2 in absence of water. Potential electrochemical conversion of CO2 after absorption in the ionic liquids will also be investigated.
The student will enjoy a stimulating working environment within the recently opened £350K Catalysis Design Laboratory at the School of Engineering and will gain expertise in the area of Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) which already has become a critical field in the fight against climate change. The electrochemistry research of the project will be conducted in collaboration with Prof Roberto Gomez, Head of the Department of Physical Chemistry at the University of Alicante.
Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.
Applications are welcomed from self-funded students, or students who are applying for scholarships from the University of Edinburgh or elsewhere.