Future Fuels PhD scholarship

Summary

Enrolment status New students, Currently enrolled students
Student type Domestic students, International students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Engineering and Computing
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship, Top-up Scholarship
Scholarship value This scholarship includes a base stipend of $28,092 per annum (2020 rate), tax free, indexed annually, and a top-up of $6,000 per annum
Scholarship duration Three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances
Opening date 2 September 2019
Closing date 16 September 2019

Scholarship description

Research Area

Hydrogen is widely seen as the energy carrier of the future, either by itself or in the form of ammonia and exotic fluids like hydrazine. It is also the critical component in syngas, the feedstock for synthetic fuels like methanol, diesel or jet fuel.

Hydrogen production without CO2 emissions and its large-scale storage is a critical challenge for the production of future fuels future fuels in the industrial, power and transport sectors. Conventional approaches to hydrogen production utilise fossil fuel (mainly natural gas) reforming and produce significant CO2 emissions.

The most prospective current option to decarbonise hydrogen production from natural gas involves methane reforming coupled with CO2 capture and sequestration (CCS). This can be costly or unavailable due to the lack of suitable geology. Alternatively, hydrogen can be produced using electrolysis but such processes are prohibitively expensive. New ways of producing low cost hydrogen without CO2 are therefore vital.

CO2 capture and sequestration (CCS) could reduce this CO2 by up to 90% but sequestration opportunities are likely to be limited by geology or public acceptance. Methane pyrolysis to produce molecular hydrogen offers a direct and cost-effective means of producing hydrogen without CO2.

This project will investigate and demonstrate at laboratory scale, novel processes for the production of near-zero CO2 hydrogen and fuels from natural gas through methane pyrolysis.

This project will investigate and demonstrate at laboratory scale, novel processes for the production of near-zero CO2 hydrogen and fuels from natural gas through methane pyrolysis.

The role

The successful candidate(s) will undertake work and receive training across:

1) Methane Pyrolysis (H2) – This project looks at using molten metal and molten salt mixtures to pyrolyse methane into H2 and solid carbon. The project will focus on the characterisation and optimisation of metal/salt systems for enhanced conversion and improved separation of hydrogen. The student will learn techniques related to in-situ measurement of reaction mechanisms and kinetics, gas bubble characteristics, and the solubility of gases in the molten metal and salt mixtures.

2) Methane Pyrolysis (Carbon) – This project looks at using molten metal and molten salt mixtures to pyrolyse methane into H2 and solid carbon. The project will focus on the characterisation and optimisation of metal/salt systems for tailored production of various carbon morphologies. The student will learn techniques related to carbon characterisation, electron microscopy, in-situ measurement of reaction mechanisms and kinetics, gas bubble characteristics, and the solubility of carbon in the molten salt mixtures.

All students who work in the FFCRC program will be be obligated to 

  • contribute their knowledge to the FFCRC Annual Research Conference through posters, presentations, demonstrations and participating in discussions and workshops; and
  • participate in a Professional Skills Development Program that will enhance their ability to enter workplaces, or advance further in a research organisation.  Regular workshops are held to develop skills around communication, project management, people management, research impact, and innovation and creativity, leadership and collaboration.  The workshops are also an excellent opportunity to share experiences and learn about other student’s research and will often involve PhD students from another CRC or similar organisations, and participants from Industry.

These professional skills can then be put into practice through placements or internships, where PhD students work closely with industry and government agencies on relevant projects.  As well as contributing to a specific project, PhD students bring significant expertise and fresh perspectives to host organisations, while in return gaining hands on experience, mentorship and networking.

Other opportunities to develop expertise and networks may also provided here students are sponsored to attend conferences, work with internationally recognised research groups and seek out innovative new ideas in their area of research. 

FFCRC students will benefit from being part of an organisation that links research and industry, and engages with the broader community, so they can experience different working environments and be part of research that has a meaningful impact. The CRC encourages students where possible to have both academic and industry-based supervisors to enhance their research experience.

Eligibility

To be eligible, you must meet the entry requirements for a higher degree by research.

 

Before you apply

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them before applying.

How to apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow the link on the upper right of this page. There is no separate application for scholarship because you will have the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

Prior to applying, check your eligibility and prepare your documentation.

You should also contact Associate Professor Simon Smart (s.smart@uq.edu.au) to discuss your suitability for this scholarship prior to submitting an application.

Please ensure that you

  1. select 'I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship'
  2. enter in the free-text field ‘ff'
  3. list the enrolling unit as the School of Chemical Engineering 
  4. enter Associate Professor Simon Smart as your supervisor

You must also upload a cover letter clearly outlining your interest and suitability for this opportunity.

Selection criteria

The candidate(s) must have a master’s degree or 1st Class Honours degree or equivalent in chemical engineering.

Mandatory requirements for international applicants

  • Peer-reviewed high quality journal publications or demonstrated practical experience in the relevant field; and
  • Excellent academic performance evidenced by a high Grade Point Average (GPA).

Desirable requirements for international applicants

  • At least one high quality research publication where the applicant is the main author.

Applicants should be eligible for an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship.

International applicants must meet the University of Queensland's English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirements detailed at http://www.uq.edu.au/grad-school/english-language-proficiency-requirements.

To be eligible for an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship or a UQ funded scholarship you must:

  • Be nominated by an enrolling school or institute at UQ.
  • Be assessed by the Graduate School as meeting all conditions for admission to the research higher degree program.
  • Not hold a qualification at the same or a higher level than the research higher degree program you are undertaking.
  • Not be receiving a living allowance award, scholarship or salary providing a benefit greater than 75% of the RTP Scholarship living allowance rate to undertake the research higher degree program.
  • Not be receiving a Commonwealth funded tuition fee scholarship.

Contact

Associate Professor Simon Smart
+61 7 3365 8591

Terms and conditions

Read the policy on UQ Research Scholarships.

A domestic part-time student with carer’s responsibilities, a medical condition or a disability, which prevents them from studying full time may be eligible for scholarship consideration, on a case by case basis.