Fully Funded Swansea University and SUSTAIN PhD Scholarship: Sustainable Heating: The Generation of Domestic Hot Water from SIM (Salt in Matrix) Technologies



Funding amount:
£20,000 p.a.

This scholarship is funded by Swansea University and SUSTAIN (EPRSC Future Manufacturing Research Hub).

Start date: October 2021

Expected interview date: w/c 16 August 2021

Subject areas: Energy, Foundation Industry, Engineering, Physical Sciences

Project description: 

Many industrial processes produce heat as a by-product; did you know between 20-50% of this waste heat is released into the atmosphere? What if we could we use this energy for space heating, hot water or other industrial processes? This project will assess methods to capture, store and release heat from such sources.

Heating solutions account for around half the total energy consumption in the UK, with more than 50% of this (a massive 434 TWh) is used for domestic household heating applications. The existing primary source for this energy is gas combustion which is unsustainable in the long term as resources deplete, imminent climate change targets are enforced and the ban on installing gas boilers in new build homes in the UK is imposed.

SUSTAIN and SPECIFIC® IKC are currently working with the UK steel industry to capture and reuse this waste heat via Thermochemical storage (TCS) and release technologies. Such technologies could be used to increase de-fossilisation of heating through the provision of domestic solutions with limited primary energy production requirements. These storage materials, such as SIM (Salt in Matrix) technologies, have been researched for a number of years as an Inter-seasonal storage option, which operate via the dehydration and rehydration of the chemical salt, utilising the associated endo- and exothermic reactions to provide the storage and release of thermal energy with the output currently focused upon the delivery of hot air.

The aim of the current project will be to investigate and optimise the discharge of novel SIM material sets to allow the production of hot water, compatible with UK domestic scenarios. This will cover both the material characterisation and assessment along with the development of novel systems to generate hot water.

The research engineer will:

  • Perform short- and long-term discharge tests of SIM materials, with varying moisture inputs, flow rates and material constituents
  • Investigate pulsed cycles using combinations of hydrated and dry air inputs
  • Investigate the generation of domestic hot water from the developed material sets
  • Characterise the material changes as a result of the varying input parameters using microscopy, XRD and other suitable techniques
  • Support ongoing industrial projects looking to capture and utilise industrial waste heat

The selected candidate will be part of an established and expanding heat storage group based at the SPECIFIC IKC, Swansea University


Candidates should hold a minimum of an upper second class (2:1) honours degree (or its equivalent) in Materials Science and Engineering or Chemistry/Chemical Engineering. However, any Science or Engineering discipline with relevant experience will be considered.

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK candidates only.

Please apply here.