PhD Studentship: Underground hydrogen storage

Closing Date
Wednesday, 7th March 2018

GeoEnergy Research Centre, School of Chemistry and Faculty of Engineering

Supervised by Dr Veerle Vandeginste (Chemistry), Professor Matthew Hall (Engineering) and Dr Bagus Muljadi (Engineering)

To keep global warming within limits, our energy portfolio is transitioning from fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) towards low-carbon, renewable energy. Common renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar energy, depend on weather conditions and diurnal-nocturnal variation. These intermittent energy sources demand solutions for grid energy storage. Underground storage of hydrogen provides a valuable solution. Hydrogen can be stored underground in man-made salt caverns. Salt rock has proven to be a very effective impermeable rock for trapped natural gas on geological time scale (tens to hundreds of million years). However, cyclic injection and extraction of hydrogen in salt caverns is different from long-term gas storage in natural systems which does not involve pressure cycling. To ensure safe field deployment of underground hydrogen storage technology, we need to address environmental concerns of gas storage in salt caverns, especially gas leakage to the surface or into aquifers. The project concentrates on thermodynamics of hydrogen storage in salt caverns, in particular investigating thermal effects linked to cycling of hydrogen injection and extraction, as well as thermal effects linked to composition and heterogeneity of the salt rocks.

Studentship summary: The 4 year PhD position is available from 1 Sept 2018 (earlier start dates will be considered). The studentship covers both tuition fees and student stipend (£14,600 per annum for 2018/19 academic year. A top-up of £2,000 will be provided for an exceptional candidate). The student will also be part of the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Fuel Cells and their Fuels (see below). 

Entry Requirements: UK/EU students. We are seeking a bright, highly motivated individual who has or is predicted to be awarded a first class or high 2(i) undergraduate honours degree or a second class honours degree plus a distinction at Master’s level in chemistry, geoscience, chemical engineering, material science, physics or a relevant discipline. 

To apply please visit:

For any enquiries please email Dr Veerle Vandeginste (

This studentship is open until filled. Early application is strongly encouraged.

The EPSRC CDT in Fuel Cells and their Fuels: This is a collaboration coordinated by Birmingham University between 5 leading Universities. There is a vibrant community of 40 PhD students across these Universities investigating different aspects of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and their applications. 

The CDT has a structured taught element through the first 18 months developing your understanding of the science, engineering and socio-economic issues related to hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, as well as developing transferrable skills sought by employees. There are a number of group and individual activities, including a one week summer school in Greece, short industry secondment in addition to attending national and international conferences which all help to develop key skills and expertise.