PhD Studentship – Developing Future Thermochemical Processes for Large-Scale, Long-Duration Energy Storage of Renewables



This project is an exciting research opportunity for a motivated student to join the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham (UoB) and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Melbourne (UoM).

This project will investigate of how thermochemical energy processes (TCS) can address the need of long duration, large scale energy storage in future low-carbon energy grids (UK and Australia). The following TCS processes will be considered: Ammonia Energy Storage (AES), Calcium Looping Energy Storage (CaL) and Metal oxide powders (MoX) of Al and Fe. They are reaction processes that allow to store fluctuating renewable energy and then release it by sequentially breaking and recombining chemical species. The project will therefore unfold in the following closely integrated stages:

1. Technological development Thermodynamic design of TCS-LDES. This stage aims to answer to the question ‘how thermochemical process should be designed to achieve maximum performance?’. Process configurations will be studied through thermodynamic process modelling encompassing kinetics reaction mechanisms and thermal behaviour.

2. Techno-economic and commercial assessment of TCS-LDES. This stage will assess the potential of different TCS technology to provide power system and market services and thus boost their business case by accruing revenue streams across multiple markets. The work will be based on state-the-art resource scheduling modelling, developed in previous joint work between UoB and UoM

3. System level benefits of TCS-LDES. This stage aims to answer the question ‘what is the role and techno-economic value of TCS-based long duration storage in future UK/Australia energy systems with high penetration of renewables?’ System level-optimization methods developed at the University of Melbourne will be used to co-optimize long-duration storage decisions (week/months) and assess the system value under different scenarios for both the UK and Australia.

This is a unique cross-disciplinary project that will equip the student with an unique set of skills for her/his future academic or industrial career. The candidate will receive comprehensive training on i) thermo-chemical processes, energy storage and process modelling at the School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham ii) sustainable power systems, linear/nonlinear optimization, techno-economic optimization, and system-level modelling at the University of Melbourne. The project will be supervised by Dr Adriano Sciacovelli ( and Prof. Pierluigi Mancarella.

Entry requirements:

We are looking for a highly motivated candidates with passion for research and wiliness to work in multidisciplinary teams. The applicants are expected to have First or Upper Second degree (or equivalent) in mechanical engineering, energy engineering, electrical engineering or chemical engineering with good English communication skills. Background in numerical modelling and thermodynamics is required. Previous experience with MATLAB/optimization methods is advantageous.

A fully-funded studentship, which includes tax-free Doctoral Stipend of £15,609* per annum, tuition fees and provision for a return trip to Birmingham/Melbourne is available for Home/EU and Overseas students on this Joint PhD programme between the University of Birmingham and the University of Melbourne for October 2021 start.
*subject to inflationary variation, with a comparable rate for students who are to be hosted by the University of Melbourne.

Please appy here.