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Tyndall Manchester

PGR PhD opportunities at Tyndall Manchester

PhD projects

Here are our latest PhD projects

We have a diverse range of PhD projects available. If these are funded they are noted in the description. To find out more about opportunities for funding you can visit the University page and the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering page.

Utilisation of agricultural residues as bioenergy and biomaterial feedstock to support global development

Main supervisor: Mirjam Roeder

Co-Supervisor: Patricia Thornley

Brief overview: This PhD assesses the utilisation of agricultural residues as bioenergy and biomaterial feedstock to support global development. The PhD will look at the different aspects of the whole bioenergy supply chain including feedstock production and sourcing, feedstock characteristics, logistics and infrastructures, integration of an appropriate treatment and conversion technology, end use, technical and economic feasibility as well as wider socio-economic implications.

Skills and background required: Strong background in engineering or agriculture with an understanding of wider sustainability implications; strong numerical and analytical skills; willingness to conduct research beyond your core expertise and learn about other disciplines; basic understanding of energy systems; basic understanding of climate change; basic understanding of global development.

Sustainable carbon management of forests for climate change mitigation

Main supervisor: Mirjam Roeder

Co-Supervisor: Andrew Welfle

Brief overview: This project will evaluate the carbon stocks and sustainability of different forest systems and management practices in key global forest regions (Europe, Canada and U.S.) to analyse the bioenergy potential and its impact on forest carbon stocks.

Skills and background required: Strong background in environmental sciences, forestry, forest management or similar disciplines; strong numerical and analytical skills; willingness to conduct research beyond your core expertise and learn about other disciplines; basic understanding of forestry and carbon dynamic; basic understanding of climate change; basic understanding of sustainability.

Temporal aspects of greenhouse gas balances for bioenergy systems

Main supervisor: Mirjam Roeder

Co-Supervisors: Patricia Thornley/Andrew Welfle

Brief overview: This project will evaluate the carbon balance and greenhouse gas emissions of key bioenergy supply chains most relevant to the UK and globally from a temporal perspective of emission release and sequestration.

Skills and background required: Strong background in engineering, physics or environmental science; strong numerical and analytical skills; willingness to conduct research beyond your core expertise and learn about other disciplines; basic understanding of carbon dynamic; basic understanding of climate change; basic understanding of bioenergy systems.

Ecosystem impacts of waste management options

Main supervisor: Patricia Thornley

Co-Supervisor: Mirjam Roeder

Brief overview: This project seeks to establish the environmental impact of those waste management options for typical UK waste streams; updating previous assessments to evaluate the actual climate change and toxicity impacts of commercially available waste management options. It will also provide recommendations as to how to best target optimal resource efficiency for the typical waste streams in the context of the environmental impacts.

Skills and background required: Strong background in environmental science or engineering; strong numerical and analytical skills; willingness to conduct research beyond your core expertise and learn about other disciplines; basic understanding of energy systems; basic understanding of climate change; basic understanding of ecosystems, basic understanding of waste and material management.

The role of bioenergy in the circular economy

Main supervisor: Patricia Thornley

Co-Supervisors: Mirjam Roeder/Maria Sharmina

Brief overview: This project is focused on improving the understanding of the role of bioenergy in a more circular based economy. It will focus particularly on the role of product substitution and examine the potential for improving the environmental impact of products by both feedstock substitution with a bio-based feedstock and/or circular economy re-use/recycle/cascade approaches. The PhD study will focus on a particular end-use sector and use case studies from within that sector to evaluate the bio-product and circular economy potential/impacts.

Skills and background required: Strong background in environmental science or engineering; strong numerical and analytical skills; willingness to conduct research beyond your core expertise and learn about other disciplines; basic understanding of energy systems; basic understanding of climate change; basic understanding of waste and material management.

Power networks for the future of aviation and shipping

Main supervisor: Alice Larkin

Co-Supervisor: John Broderick

Brief overview: Electric planes and shore-powered ships could reduce climate change emissions and improve local air quality. From Heathrow to Hong Kong, these opportunities are as yet poorly characterised and restricted by existing geographically specific infrastructure. This project will characterise the scale of emission reduction potential and implications for power network planning and management through case studies of technologies and sites.

https://www.findaphd.com/search/ProjectDetails.aspx?PJID=93686

Funder: Power Networks CDT http://www.power-networks-cdt.manchester.ac.uk/

Skills and background required: Quantitative physical or social science (e.g. engineering, chemistry, physics, economics).

Characterising the role of diverse nuclear technologies for a zero-carbon UK

Main supervisor: Kevin Anderson

Co-Supervisor: John Broderick and Richard Taylor

Brief overview: How much could nuclear technologies contribute to a zero carbon UK? This project will characterise the role of diverse reactor designs and fuel cycles for a zero-carbon UK, from traditional light water reactors for electricity generation to district heat networks and high temperature reactors to generate hydrogen for aircraft. The project will entail interdisciplinary research, developing and assessing quantitative scenarios.

http://www.nextgennuclear.manchester.ac.uk/our-research/manchester/

Funder: Next Generation Nuclear CDT http://www.nextgennuclear.manchester.ac.uk/

Skills and background required: Quantitative physical or social science (e.g. engineering, chemistry, physics, economics).

An interdisciplinary study of the challenges surrounding sectors with the most difficult to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. agriculture, aviation, shipping) and implications for the Paris Agreement

Main supervisor: Alice Larkin

Co-Supervisor: John Broderick

Brief overview: The international transport sector has been understood for some time as posing particular challenges for significantly curbing CO2 emissions, so much so that explicit reference to these international emissions was omitted from the Paris Agreement. Agriculture on the other hand, has feasible opportunities to cut significantly its CO2 emissions, but a large proportion of agricultural emissions are attributable to non-CO2 greenhouse gases, such as N2O and CH4, which are much more difficult to mitigate. Taken together, these ‘difficult to mitigate’ sectors, are expected to continue to contribute to a positive radiative forcing for many decades, whilst the Paris Agreement aims to limit global temperature rises to less than 2C – a goal that requires urgent and deep mitigation as early as 2030. To limit temperature rises to levels in line with the Paris Agreement, at the same time as there is an ongoing increase in radiative forcing contribution from some sectors, implies deeper cuts to greenhouse gas emissions than are currently anticipated by policy makers, need to be made elsewhere in the energy system. By quantitatively and qualitatively considering the limits to mitigation in across ‘difficult to mitigate’ sectors, this PhD study will provide a fuller appreciation of the scale of CO2 mitigation required to remain commensurate with the Paris Agreement, identify intervention points for mitigation within 'difficult to mitigate’ sectors, and draw out implications for policy and decision makers.

Exploring mitigation at a local to nation scale – comparing Nationally Determined Contributions and the Paris Agreement

Main supervisor: Alice Larkin

Co-Supervisor: Carly McLachlan

Brief overview: Since the Paris Agreement came into force, nations have started to put in place policies and mechanisms to deliver on their ‘Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)’. However, when aggregating across NDCs at a global scale, research indicates that the mitigation levels implied nationally are out of line with the overall 2C goal of the Paris Agreement. This PhD study will identify one or more key case-study nations to do an in-depth quantitative and qualitative assessment of the feasibility of delivering on that nations’ NDC, the gap between the NDC and mitigation implied by the Paris Agreement, and consider a suite of new policies and measures to accelerate the NDC ambition within the context of that nation’s particular geography and socio-technical systems.