PhD Studentship: Hydrogen purification via next generation MOF-polymer mixed matric membranes

Closing Date
Wednesday, 7th March 2018

Advanced Materials Research Group, Engineering Faculty

Supervised by Dr Begum Tokay, Professor Gavin Walker 

The Project

H2 is a high quality and clean energy carrier. Currently, the majority of hydrogen is produced by steam-methane reforming followed by a water-gas shift reaction whilst bio-hydrogen production has also been increasing. Before hydrogen can be used in fuel cell, CO2 must be removed that resulted from production processes. Membrane separation is the most promising alternative compared to conventional separation technologies i.e. pressure swing adsorption because of low energy consumption. Although many inorganic membranes of zeolites, metal alloys and carbon molecular sieves have developed, the difficulty of scaling up limits their applications. 

Polymer membranes are useful whilst controlling permeability/selectivity in harsh conditions is challenging. Recently mixed matrix membranes (MMMs), where an inorganic material embedded into polymer matrix, have attracted more attention as they combine porous materials’ functionality with polymer processability. In this sense, metal–organic frameworks (MOFs), which comprised of metal ions connected by organic linkers, are the most promising ones due to their diverse and flexible structure. 

Therefore, this project will explore development of metal organic framework/polymer mixed matrix membranes with enhanced H2 selectivity to enable membrane based H2 purification.

Studentship summary: The four 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 materials science, chemistry, chemical engineering, physics or a relevant discipline. 

To apply please visit:

For any enquiries please email Dr Begum Tokay (

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.