Hydrogen Amplification from Coke Oven Gas (COG) (PhD Scholarship)

Hydrogen Amplification from Coke Oven Gas (COG)

University of South Wales

Project ID: USW MAXI 20427
Annual Stipend: £14,340
Application Deadline: 23rd September 2018  

This exciting PhD project is funded by the Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS) programme and will be based in internationally renowned Sustainable Environment Research Centre (SERC) within the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science at the University of South Wales. KESS is a programme funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) awarded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) in the Welsh Government. The project is co-sponsored by one of the world’s most innovative steel making companies, Tata Steel Strip Products, UK. The successful candidate will work closely with the highly experienced supervision team in SERC and with process advisors from Tata Steel’s Port Talbot works to pursue a significant scientific and engineering ambition to develop a chemical process to improve the hydrogen recovery from coke oven gas. In addition, the successful candidate will join an existing group of KESS PhD students within SERC, working on related innovative PhD projects sponsored by Tata Steel

Programme of research:

Coke Oven gas (COG) is a major byproduct of the preparation of coke for steelmaking and large volumes are continuously produced. Some of the energy content of COG is recovered internally, but a large volume of COG is flared to atmosphere in nearly all major steel plants, resulting in energy inefficiency and major release of CO2. The catalytic conversion of hydrocarbons in COG to hydrogen (or amplification) potentially improves the prospects for further recovery of COG, improves the economics of hydrogen separation and potentially the steelmaking process. However, amplification is challenging as COG contains sulphur compounds, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, particulates and tars as well as lighter hydrocarbons. This project seeks to identify and investigate the practical implementation of suitable catalytic reforming processes within continuous steelmaking for hydrogen amplification from COG, including a detailed investigation of both technical and economic aspects. It is envisaged that the project will encompass experimental reforming approaches and will utilise the test reformer at the University’s Hydrogen R&D Centre at Baglan to characterise promising catalysts for COG reforming, through the provision of synthetic COG.

The project has been specifically chosen by Tata Steel as one of a number of R&D projects to make a difference to the environmental and economic performance of steelmaking. As such, the successful candidate will be supported by through a dedicated industrial supervisor from the Tata Steel Works at Port Talbot and by professorial and post-doctoral researchers from SERC at USW. Linkage to SERC’s existing projects such as the ERDF-funded FLEXIS project (http://www.flexis.wales/) will give the successful candidate access to a large network of researchers and industrial interests.

In addition, the successful candidate will join a cohort of 8 other USW/ TATA Steel KESS PhD students, all making excellent progress in their research. Case studies of some of the USW/ TATA Steel KESS PhD students are available here: http://www.southwales.ac.uk/business/utilise-our-expertise/kess2/

The majority of KESS students go on to work for their industrial partner, or decide to pursue a career in academia, so this scholarship is a wonderful opportunity for the right candidate.


The studentship will cover the fees for a 3-year full-time PhD programme and pay a stipend of circa £14k p.a. There is also around £3.5k project support costs available for consumables, travel/conference attendance, minor equipment, training (including the KESS Grad School) and conference attendance.

The position is available from 1st April 2018

Eligibility of Student:

To be eligible to hold a KESS studentship, you must:

  • have a home address in the Convergence area (details below)* at the time of registration.
  • have the right to take up paid work in the Convergence area* on completion of the scholarship.
  • be classified by the University as ‘home’ or ‘EU’ for tuition fees purposes according to the University’s guidelines.
  • satisfy University of South Wales’s admissions criteria: see below

*The Convergence area covers West Wales & the Valleys, & is made up of the following 15 local authorities: Isle of Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent & Torfaen.

Qualifications and experience:

Eligible applicants will:

  • Have a degree (2i or higher) in an appropriate Scientific/Engineering discipline
  • Possess understanding of chemical catalysis or chemical engineering discipline would be of advantage.
  • Be highly self-motivated, with capacity to learn and develop scientific techniques
  • Have well-developed and positively collaborative interpersonal skills
  • Have an ability to deliver technical reports and communicate science
  • Be willing to travel and work in industrial settings

Application Process:

To download an application package, please visit:  Participant Application Package

For any queries on eligibility, please contact:  KESS Team at Research and Innovation Services, University of South Wales: kess@southwales.ac.uk  Tel: 01443 482578

For informal enquiries or further programme information, please contact: Dr. Christian Laycock. christian.laycock@southwales.ac.uk

Closing date for applications:  Midnight 23rd September 2018              

Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS) is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.