Energy Futures Lab/Grantham Institute

Taylor Donation support for PhD studentships at Imperial 

Round One now closed for new applications

Details of the next stage of Round One will be shared with Supervisors, who will choose their preferred candidate. The selected candidate and supervisors will be asked to complete the final application form and submit all relevant documents by 4 October 2023.



We are delighted to announce that we are able to provide support for up to 10 PhD studentships at Imperial College London, made possible by the generous funds received through the Taylor Donation. These studentships have been specifically designated to facilitate research in the field of energy policy, encompassing various areas such as environmental aspects and the adaptation of both existing and emerging energy technologies for practical applications.

The selected students will be part of a shared cohort of both the Energy Futures Lab and the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment. They will engage in the associated PhD training and activities of both institutes, as well as cohort specific training.

 The primary goal of the PhD research projects sponsored through the Taylor Donation is to enhance our understanding of energy-related challenges and develop innovative solutions with a positive impact on energy supply, demand reduction, and climate change. Through the utilization of these funds, we aim to promote cutting-edge investigations that address critical issues in the energy sector and contribute to the transition towards a sustainable future.

We will run two rounds of applications, the first with a deadline of 4th October 2023, and the second 1st April 2024. Applications will be assessed on the project outline and associated student. Assessment criteria will include:


  • the research project capacity for positive impact on energy supply, demand reduction and climate change
  • integration of a multidisciplinarity in the research study
  • energy transition potential
  • connection to energy research policy
  • adventure, exploring and addressing novel and challenging applications and issues


  • academic ability
  • research potential
  • communication and engagement experience
  • socio-economic, diversity and inclusion considerations.

Additionally, we will be seeking supervisory teams that consist of Imperial academic staff from different disciplines and at different career levels.

The funding will include 3.5 years of funding, which will cover:

  • home tuition fees at UKRI indicative rate (£4,712 per annum for 2023/24)
  • a maintenance stipend, paid in equal monthly instalments directly to your bank account (£20,622 per annum for 2023/24)
  • in addition to any funds available from the supervisor’s resources, a total of up to £3,000 is available during the duration of the project to contribute towards research expenses associated with your project, including conference costs, consumables and travel for research purposes.

The studentships will not include overheads, and any application must include the host department’s permission to waive overheads. In the case of applications associated with overseas applicants, any costs over and above home support (e.g. visa costs, travel, fees etc) will need to be agreed in advance and covered by the home department.

Process timeline for Round One of Taylor PhD scholarship applications

7 July: Deadline for academics to register interest in supervising a project.

17 July: Call opens for student applications.

15 August: Deadline for student applications. Candidates should identify up to two supervisors that they are interested in working with on their PhD project – list of potential supervisors can be seen at the base of this page. Candidates are asked to complete this questionnaire and provide a CV (1 page) and Cover Letter (1 page).

16 August  - 8 September: Supervisors arrange interviews with the candidates to select one to put forward. 

9-30 September: Supervisors and students identify co-supervisors for students’ projects and work together on a PhD proposal (400 words).

4 October: Deadline for candidate and supervisor to submit final application. Final application pack will include: Project Proposal, CV, Cover Letter, two letters of recommendation, and completed questionnaires. These will be assessed by the panel.

All students who will be submitting a project proposal with their supervisor will need to complete this questionnaire with your details. This will provide you with a Unique Identifier, which will be needed for the main application form. The main application form link will be sent via email to the proposed project supervisor.  

1 November: Decision on the successful projects is communicated to candidates and supervisors.

1 January-1 April 2024: PhD studentships commence.

Please note that Taylor PhD students need to be co-supervised by at least two Imperial academics. The academic willing to be the main supervisor can only supervise one Taylor PhD student. Supervisors may co-supervise no more than two Taylor PhD students.

Information for PhD candidates

  • You should identify up to two main supervisors that you are interested in working with on your PhD project – the list of potential supervisors can be seen at the base of this page.  
  • You will need to complete this questionnaire and then provide a CV (1 page) and Cover Letter (1 page) to the supervisor(s) as well as the Grantham Institute ( and Energy Futures Lab ( The title of the email needs to be “Taylor PhD programme application”. Use the following formats for your attachments: "Surname [space] Initial_CV" and "Surname [space] Initial_Cover Letter" (for example Smith J_CV and Smith J_Cover Letter)  
  • You should include your grades in your CV. We also recommend explaining in your Cover Letter your interest in the chosen research topic and specifying what skills you are planning to gain 
  • Before applying, we ask that you check that you would meet the entry requirements to undertake a PhD at Imperial College London.  
  • Further information regarding entry requirements, and what the panel may look for in prospective students can be viewed in this document: Taylor Donation [pdf].
  • We welcome home and international candidates to apply, noting funding restrictions (see overview).  

For any queries, please contact or

Supervisors in this programme

Department of Aeronautics

SupervisorExpertiseProject details
Professor Sylvain Laizet


Wind energy
High performance computing
Computational fluid dynamics

Floating offshore wind development: risks and opportunities

The UK has set ambitious climate change and carbon reduction targets to achieve Net Zero by 2050 and offshore wind is seen as critical in helping to deliver those targets and enable the switch from fossil fuels across domestic, industrial and transportation energy use. To meet the targets, deployment of offshore wind farms will have to go beyond current locations in relatively shallow waters, with the potential  of accessing waters with more consistent, powerful and predictable wind resources.  This project will focus on the notable differences in terms of possible locations, foundation design, construction activities, receptors and sectors that may be affected as a result.
 Dr Oliver Buxton Turbulence
Wind-farm wake modelling
Wind-turbine wake modelling 
As promising areas, such as the North Sea, become more and more congested with new wind farms the outflow of one wind farm becomes the inflow to the next. This has repercussions, since wind-farm wakes are regions of enhanced turbulence and reduced energy flux meaning that disputes can arise between adjacent wind-farm operators. For these reasons policy-making should account for the total availability of wind resource in the North Sea when planning future developments, which will require advances in wind-farm wake modelling - the subject of this research. 
Dr Konstantinos Steiros  Aerodynamics
Heat transfer
Experimental fluid mechanics 

Thermal management of hydrogen-powered aircraft

In June 2020 the formation of the Jet Zero Council (JZC) was announced by the Transport Secretary, focusing on the development of regulatory framework for net-zero aviation in the UK, and the promotion of zero emission aviation technologies, including hydrogen propulsion in aircraft. Together with the industrial partner ZeroAvia, this project will address one of the main challenges of hydrogen-cell implementation in aircraft, that of low-drag and high-efficiency heat exchanger design. Our research will aim to extend the usage of hydrogen fuel cells to longer flights, inform which flight distances can become hydrogen-powered, and over which time scale kerosene-use can be phased out for such flights.  

Professor Emile S Greenhalgh  Composites
The group at Imperial has pioneered the development of structural power composites: multifunctional load-bearing materials with the capacity to store and deliver electrical energy. This distruptive technology has the potential to revolutionise energy storage for electric transportation, as well as applications such as portable electronics and robotics. We have developed methodologies for multifunctional design with these materials and are keen to explore industrial 
Dr Andrew Wynn  Control and optimisation
Fluid mechanics
AI-based modelling 
Data-driven models to predict the aerodynamic wakes of wind farms will become increasingly important for increasing renewable energy production, and for future policy decisions for wind energy deployment. Remote sensing for real-time predictions of turbine-wake interactions can help increase the energy output of existing farms, while predictive models for farm-level interactions can ensure robust planning for wind farm locations at a national level. This project will develop AI-based predictive models and control strategies, trained and tested on experimental wind-tunnel data.      
Dr Urban Fasel Aerospace engineering
Machine learning
Data-driven control
In this project, we will evaluate the potential of recent scientific machine learning methods to gain new insights and quantify the environmental impact of aviation. In particular, we will explore sparse sensing and nonlinear model discovery algorithms for accurate and computationally efficient atmospheric chemistry modeling to help reduce the uncertainty in estimates of different contributors to aviation-related climate change. The developed methods and knowledge gained will be used in operational and engineering decision-making, informing optimal airline flight routes that minimize climate impact, as well as helping to accurately quantify impact of future aircraft configurations and propulsion systems such as hydrogen powered aircraft.

Department of Bioengineering

SupervisorExpertiseProject details
Dr Rodrigo Ledesma Amaro Synthetic biology
Microbial biotechnology
Microorganisms can be engineered to produce biofuels, such as biodiesel or biokerosene, in a sustainable manner. They can transform agricutlural and food waste into fuels promoting a zero waste, cirucular economy. Further research is required to understnd the commercial potential of microbial-based fuels.

Imperial College Business School

SupervisorExpertiseProject details
Dr Laure de Preux Health economics
Environmental economics
Economics; Health Economics; Environmental Economics; Public Health; Climate Change; Environmental Policies. 
Dr Anastasiya Ostrovnaya Climate finance Macroeconomic implications of transition policies

Macroeconomic implications of transition policies; different policy tools would have different implications on economies, inflation, employment, etc, and therefore leading to different acceptance by and outcomes for societies. Also they may have a complex feedback loop impacts on the transition financing
Professor Alexander Michaelides Macro finance
Household finance
Adoption of different energy efficient technologies at the household level under realistic background risks and calibrating the aggregate implications from alternative government policies related to new technology adoption.
Professor Richard Green Electricity markets, particularly wholesale
Economics of electricity generation and storage
Policy support for low-carbon energy

I am interested in electricity market design and how it will have to adapt for an increasing proportion of low-carbon electricity, particularly wind and solar generation. What does this imply for the level and volatility of revenues and profits, and hence investment incentives, and are (and what kind of) government policies or other measures needed to steer us towards desirable outcomes.

Centre for Environmental Policy

SupervisorExpertiseProject details
Dr Caroline Howe Sustainability
Energy and environment
Environmental policy and economics
Investigation into the sustainability of tritium production and potential alternatives for nuclear fusion.

Tritium currently markets at $30k per gram, but there is only 5kg occurring naturally on the planet with a further 8-15kg produced in fission reactors (a 1 GW power station expected to need 166 kg per year). Making tritium requires 6Li which is difficult to separate from 7Li and uses a significant amount of mercury and beryllium for the breeder process, both of which are rare and rely on technology also used for nuclear weapons. Understanding this cycle from environmental, social and economic perspectives, and exploring alternatives that are more sustainable is therefore fundamental to the successful implementation of nuclear fusion as a clean technology for the future.
Dr Gbemi Oluleye Clean technology adoption
Policy analysis
Techno-economic assessment
Whole-System Valuing of Clean Industrial Demand Side Management

This is a multidisciplinary project aimed at investigating the value of industrial demand-side management practices towards the greater UK energy system. Increase in all sources of energy system flexibility is required to support increased penetration of renewables. Industrial sector flexibility would significantly contribute to closing the flexibility gap, yet still not considered in most modelling studies at the system or policy level . This research will answer three questions: (1) how can design-side management from heterogeneous participants be quantified, (2) can industry co-exist with a realistic portfolio of flexibility providers, and (3) what policy interventions will drive the adoption of derived industry practise? The proposed research lies at intersections of mathematical modelling, optimisation, energy systems, and policy studies; developments will therefore be presented in leading venues for various fields.
Professor Niall Mac Dowell Energy systems
Net zero transition
Energy policy
The aim of this project is to quantify and qualify the impact of the recent inclusion of greenhouse gas removal (GGR) in the UK ETS. The primary objective will be to develop a detailed mathematical model of the UK ETS, and use this to provide policy-relevant input to HMG on this question, with a particular focus on understanding price dynamics and the extent to which this move will result in moral hazard and mitigation deterrance. 
Professor Joeri Rogelj

Climate science and policy
Net-zero transformation scenarios

Understanding litigation risks for energy firms in a net-zero transition. Current and future energy firms are exposed to three types of climate risk: physical, transition and litigation risk. This project will explore how energy firms past choices and activities expose them to litigation risk and apply these insights to inform future risks for existing and new energy firms.
Karen Makuch

Law, Policy, Justice, Futures


It is an argument that dominant systemic and cultural paradigms disadvantage women financially and socially. The energy transition is not without costs. Some countries, including the UK, have been hit harder than others, particularly in relation to the transition to more self-sufficient energy. Women are arguably bearing the brunt of the cost of living/energy crisis. This thesis will evaluate the aforementioned assertions in two or more chosen jurisdictions, identify and evaluate related law and policy frameworks, gaps, challenges and opportunities, and suggest interventions of a law, policy based nature.


Department of Chemical Engineering

SupervisorExpertiseProject Details
Dr Antonio Del Rio Chanona


Uncertainty analysis
Process design and control
Project title: A robust optimization model for designing future-proof market-based policy interventions under uncertainty

There is a strong consensus that interventions in the form of policies, especially market-based instruments/fiscal instruments have supported the uptake of clean energy by addressing the highest ranked barriers (high initial capital costs/large upfront investment). The work will address an inclusive multidisciplinary modelling framework for designing comprehensive future-proof market-based policy packages that includes a myriad of market-based/fiscal instruments for clean technology uptake especially for hard-to-electrify sectors. Since there is no silver bullet amongst the myriad of market-based/fiscal policy instruments, designing policy packages under uncertainty matters. With robust optimization, distribution information for micro and macro uncertainties do not need to be known prior, and the solution space scales with the number of uncertain parameters making representative scenarios easy to produce compared to stochastic methods.
Professor Adam Hawkes Energy system modelling
Geographical information systems
Artifical intelligence and big data
Energy systems modelling is a key tool used by governments, industry and academia to understand the characteristics of successful energy transitions to mitigate climate change. But building energy models is time consuming, and data availability and quality are significant issues that prevent informed debate on the best responses to the threat of climate change. This project will build a novel software pipeline that uses highly spatially and temporally resolved data globally to automatically build energy systems models for anywhere in the world, based on artificial intelligence, GIS, satellite and bespoke data, to give stakeholders fast access to high quality climate change mitigation analysis tools worldwide.
Professor Nilay Shah Modelling and optimisation of low carbon technologies and systems
Design and operation of sustainable urban energy systems
Development of new algorithms for large scale technology difussion models
Project title: Optimisation of low-carbon roadmap investment strategies for the built environment: A socio-techno-economic modelling approach

We need to make a carbon step-change to decarbonize cost-effectively our foresaken built environment. This project focuses on developing low carbon roadmaps for the built environment sector so we can develop blueprints that allow us to understand the technical solutions, policies, and the investment required to reach net zero targerts. Research in this area will allow us to consider a wide range of policies and technologies that will enable us to decarbonise, but through scenario-based analysis we will be able to determine which are the preferred low-cost and least-regret options.
Dr Anna Hankin

Electrochemical engineering
Energy conversion and storage

Project title: CO2 utilisation in carbon nanotube production

The goal of this project will be to develop a scalable process for simultaneously capturing air- or flue gas-derived CO2 and converting it to high-value carbon nanotubes (CNTs) via molten carbonate electrolysis. This approach seeks to achieve a decrease in the CNT manufacture-associated energy requirements simultaneously with climate change mitigation.
Professor Christos Markides

High-performance hybrid photovoltaic-X multi-generation solar technologies and systems for combined electricity, heating, cooling, desalination and/or solar fuels provision
Components, technologies and systems for the collection, recovery, utilisation, conversion and/or storage of energy for heating, cooling and power, novel 'total energy' integration schemes in high-efficiency systems with emphasis on renewable and waste heat
Waste-heat recovery and conversion to heating, cooling and/or power with advanced cycles

Project title:  Emerging hybrid photovoltaic-X (PV-X) multi-generation solar technologies and systems

A considerable amount of unused heat in solar PV cells can be harvested and utilised effectively by advanced solar technologies, here referred to as "hybrid PV-X", that integrate and use synergies in two or more underlying recovery and conversion processes to generate heating, cooling, power, clean water, and/or solar fuels (e.g., hydrogen) with an efficiency that is 2-3 times higher than separate, standalone systems. The topic includes the following elements: emerging advanced materials, optical and thermal design, integration and optimisation, energy storage, control, techno-economic and environmental assessments of the proposed hybrid PV-X solar technologies.

Department of Chemistry

SupervisorExpertiseProject Details
Dr Maxie Roessler


EPR (electron paramagnetic resonance) spectroscopy
Catalysis & biocatalysis
Trapping and characterising radicals to investigate mechanisms in energy processes: The discovery of new energy materials and sustainable catalysts is accelerated by mechanistic understanding of the processes involved. Trapping radical intermediates and characterising these in detail (using advanced electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy) helps to identify key missing pieces even in complex mechanisms. The versatility of EPR and capabilities of PEPR (the Centre for Pulse EPR) open the door to studying numerous different systems (from solid state to solutions), and possible directions include investigating how defects correlate with functionality and how radical intermediates can provide detailed information not only on reaction pathways but also kinetics.
Dr Agnieszka Brandt-Talbot


Low-carbon materials
Biobased chemical processes
Sustainable biomass conversion

Carbon fibres are applied in a range of applications, including to reduce weight and fuel consumption and increase vehicle range (especially for electric cars). However, conventional carbon fibres are manufactured from petrochemicals through an energy-intensive carbonization process and are also expensive, limiting their adoption. This PhD project will develop a novel class of sustainable, low-cost carbon fibres from lignin (an abundant renewable precursor derived from wood) using less energy for the conversion, which will facilitate low-carbon transportation worldwide.
Professor Milo Shaffer

Carbon nanomaterials
Inorganic nanomaterials
Conducting polymers

Project title: Methane to carbon nanotubes and turquoise hydrogen.

Blue hydrogen is considered a valuable interim approach to the hydrogen economy, based on trapping the carbon found in natural gas. Using methane to grow CNTs, provides useful hydrogen but also converts the carbon directly into a useful solid form. The excellent properties of CNTs mean that other carbon dioxide intensive materials can be displaced, making a further positive contribution to emissions. This product will explore process intensification to maximise the efficient and quality of Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) produced for maximal climate impact.
Dr Nuria Tapia-Ruiz

Energy, Batteries, Inorganic materials Synthesis, Electrochemistry.

For rechargeable batteries to meet society’s ever-growing demands in electrical storage such as transport electrification, grid storage and portable applications, we require more sustainable and inexpensive positive electrode materials that can deliver high energy and power, as these are the main performance drivers of these devices. In this project, the student will design new materials for low-cost and sustainable energy storage technologies and will use advanced characterization tools to elucidate their behaviour during battery functioning, with the final goal of optimizing their structure and electrochemical performance.


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

SupervisorExpertiseProject Details
Dr Panagiotis Angeloudis

Engineering systems
Autonomous transport
Agent-based modelling

Project title: Design, evaluation and deployment of Space-Based Solar Power Systems

This PhD project aims to study the design, deployment and optimisation of space-based solar power systems. The relationship between deployment strategies, orbital positioning and supporting terrestrial infrastructure will be a key focus of this study. The research will further assess the practical challenges and implications of large-scale deployment, including regulatory, environmental, and economic factors, to propose strategies for successful implementation.

Dr Aruna Sivakumar Electric vehicles and fleets
Energy demand modelling
Consumer behaviour
Project title: Examine equitability issues in the transition to net-zero.

How will the rapid electrification of road transport and the emergence of new technologies such as vehicle/home to grid and heating technologies/services impact different population segments across the UK?
Analyse energy demand flexibility in residential and non-residential consumers, generate new evidence and insights and develop mathematical models of consumer behaviour that captures this demand flexibility. Explore various solutions to harness energy demand flexibility including pricing signals and new technologies/services.
Dr Marc Stettler Transport
Heavy goods vehicles
Decarbonisation of long haul road freight (synergy with ongoing Innovate UK project with industry trial of electric and hydrogen trucks).
Dr Athanasios Paschalis Environmental engineering
Project title: Optimal design of Agrovoltaic systems for a transition to net zero

Solar energy is a green zero emissions technology that can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However installation of photovoltaic system requires a lot of area. In this project we will explore the concept of agrovoiltaic systems, i.e., the use of tailored photovoltaics in agricultural land. This co-existence of energy production and agriculture provides a potential win-win solution as no additional land compromising food security is needed to generate solar energy, and simultaneously reduce crop water demand via evaporation reduction, further increasing water security under a changing climate.
Dr Emilio Martinez-Paneda Hydrogen infrastructure
Wind energy
Project title: The impact of hydrogen embrittlement on the viability of hydrogen as energy carrier of the future

There is significant interest in repurposing natural gas pipelines to transport green hydrogen for transport, steelmaking, heating and other decarbonisation opportunities. However, metals become very brittle in the presence of hydrogen and its transport at low pressures compromises the techno-economic viability of hydrogen energy. The goal of the PhD is to determine viable pressures and the implications for energy policy.
Professor Graham Hughes

Flows in the built environment
Buoyancy-driven flows and heat transfer
Building ventilation dynamics and energy demand reduction

The development, modelling and study of the long term impact (performance and heat transfer) of a new material that can be readily applied for underfloor insulation.
(Retrofitting of existing buildings to lower energy demand and help decarbonise the sector in a cost-effective manner is a key challenge that we face. This project will help address the challenge by incorporating cross-disciplinary expertise to develop a viable technical solution).

Department of Computing

SupervisorExpertiseProject Details:
Dr Panos Parpas Climate policy
Water systems optimisation
Machine learning
Analyses of global climate policy as a sequential decision under uncertainty have been severely restricted by dimensionality and computational burdens. The aim of this project is to develop methodologies that can scale to model sizes that are relevant to policy makers.
Dr Hamed Haddadi

Edge computing
Machine learning

Project title: Battery-Free Machine Learning on Sensor/IoT devices

Dyson School of Design Engineering

SupervisorExpertiseProject Details
Dr Pelin Demirel Innovation
Healthcare has a significant environmental footprint, accounting for 4-8% of global emissions. Technological, organisational and behaviourial energy innovations are required to help healthcare providers meet their net-zero transition goals, whilst meeting other industry specific priorities such as patient safety, infection control and cost savings.
Professor Sebastian Deterding Behaviour change
Game design
Human-computer interaction
Reducing national energy demand requires solving collective action problems in time-shifting and coordinating consumer energy use. Yet standard financial incentive approaches have fallen short in driving actual collective energy action 'in the wild.' This project will explore whether fusing traditional 'rational' market incentives with more human-centred and 'social' cooperative game design might offer a better-performing approach.
Professor Pierre Pinson Energy
Data science
Market design
Project title: Incentivizing data sharing to support a just and sustainable energy transition

Digitalization is the backbone of the energy transition, and will play a substantial role in our trajectory to net zero. However, this requires that relevant data can be shared, which is clearly not common practice today. This project will explore alternative approaches to incentivize data sharing and develop relevant platforms to do so in practice.
Dr Billy Wu


Project title: Innovative policy pathways to an equitable and sustainable hydrogen economy

The potential of scaling the hydrogen economy for the decarbonisation of the UK's industrial and domestic sectors is well understood. However, a range of socio-technical barriers such as policy uncertainties, costs, public and industrial acceptance of hydrogen and infrastructural and skills shortcomings around producing, storing and using hydrogen limit the scaling of an equitable and sustainable healthy hydrogen economy. This project will examine and model the UK's hydrogen ecosystems to identify policy interventions that can boost the innovation and market potential of hydrogen across the range of production sources and resulting pathways to end use.
Dr Michel-Alexandre Cardin

Engineering design
Real options analysis
Technology policy

Project title: AI-enabled immersive technologies to support the design and policymaking for complex energy systems operating under uncertainty

The project will aim to devise new technologies to support training, design, and decision-making and facilitate better communication between relevant stakeholders in industry and government. Flexibility in design enabling systems to adapt, change and reconfigure, will be an important concept explored in the project. This project is crucial as the world learns to tackle important disruptions from climate change, as well as increasing threats from global healthcare emergencies, geopolitical conflicts, and cyber-physical terrorism, which make energy systems extremely vulnerable, and require new thinking for connecting technology development and policymaking.

Department of Earth Science and Engineering

SupervisorExpertiseProject Details
Professor Matthew Piggott Wind energy
Marine spatial planning
Data science / machine learning
The project will consider how the marine space (e.g. the North Sea) can be managed in a manner that accounts for interactions between energy generation (primarily offshore wind), fisheries, and other stakeholders. An emphasis will be on decadal scale planning and how to assess the competing calls from different sectors as they grow and evolve. Cost models and novel simulation/optimisation tools will be developed to assist decision-makers, including policy-makers, in best managing finite resources and finite areas. Potential partners: Crown Estate, CEFAS.
Dr Pablo Brito-Parada


Materials-energy nexus
Sustainable mining
Critical raw materials

Project title: A closer look at the Critical Raw Materials Energy nexus: informing policy and decision making

This project will develop a framework to assess the materials constraints to the clean energy transition, a pressing challenge particularly regarding critical minerals. A holistic approach, that considers the environmental, technical, social, and economic aspects of the nexus will be supported by novel multicriteria decision making tools that also deal with uncertainty in the data. The framework will provide policy makers with the ability to identify realistic pathways to a clean energy future, informed by robust, transparent, and innovative analyses.

Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

SupervisorsExpertiseProject Details
Dr Elina Spyrou

Electricity markets
Power system planning/operations under uncertainty

Project title: Business models for long duration storage

Multiple studies have estimated the value of long duration storage for future energy systems; however there are several barriers to its deployment. This research project could investigate alternative market designs and policy schemes that help overcome those barriers.
Dr Fei Teng

Cyber resiliency
Power grids

Project title: Role of cyber resiliency in energy system decarbonisation: a techno-environmental assessment

While it is clear that digitalisation will play a key role in energy system decarbonisation, there are growing concerns about the risk and potential damage that may be caused by cyberattacks against the digital infrastructure underpinning future energy systems. This PhD project brings together a supervision team covering the expertise in power grid, environmental engineering and cyber security with the aim to inform UK policy-making and regulation development on secure and resilient energy system digitalisation. The student will develop a techno-environmental assessment framework to quantify the economic and environmental value of the technologies that enhance the cyber resiliency of digitalised energy system and assess the role of enabling policy.

Department of Materials

SupervisorsExpertiseProject Details
Dr Reshma Rao Materials characterisation
Solar conversion
Project title: Developing technologies to convert waste to low-cost green hydrogen

Direct electrolysis of biomass waste using renewable energy is a cost-effective route for the production of green hydrogen, a critical energy vector in our transition to net zero. This project will focus on designing catalytic materials that can accelerate the rate of reaction for up-conversion of biomass for these electrochemical technologies.
Professor Stephen Skinner


Producing clean hydrogen from renewable resources is a significant technological challenge. Understanding materials lifetime and recylability is a central part of deployment of these technologies. Here we will investigate how to enhance device durability and hence lifetime, whilst also investigating end of life recycling of complex metal oxides.
Dr Minh-Son (Son) Pham


Materials for power generation plants
Hydrogen-induced damage
Architected materials for sustainable systems

Hydrogen is considered as a green source of energy powering the future economy. Once the barriers with producing affordable green hydrogen are overcome, there are significant needs to have high performing materials for hydrogen storage and distribution. This PhD study will aim to develop new alloys that are resistant to hydrogen embrittlement.
Dr Chun Ann Huang


Energy policy
Energy storage materials
Energy storage devices

This project aims to develop new energy storage materials and manufacturing technologies for energy storage devices of next generation rechargeable batteries. In particular, the project focuses on joining the developments of energy policy with grid-scale level energy storage to shape the landscape of energy storage applications and manufacturing industry in the UK.

This project aims to develop new hydrogen generation materials and manufacturing technologies for water splitting to generate hydrogen using renewable energy. In particular, the project focuses on joining the developments of energy policy with grid-scale level hydrogen generation technologies to shape the landscape of hydrogen economy and manufacturing industry in the UK.

Department of Mechanical Engineering

SupervisorsExpertiseProject Details
Dr Antonis Sergis Thermal energy storage (sensible and latent heat storage schemes)
Heat transfer (boiling, nanoscale etc.)
Optical diagnostics (including laser diagnostics)

Thermal energy storage for decarbonising building heating/cooling and the industry.

Novel superior boiling heat transfer surface coatings through the control of nanoparticle deposition for a renewable future. The aim is to validate the hypothesis, that deposition of nanoparticles suspended in fluids could be controlled during boiling processes to create and thereafter modify or/and maintain novel superior boiling heat transfer surface coatings. There is already evidence that such coatings could provide a step change on boiling heat transfer however, their control aspects are yet unknown. If this hypothesis is valid, complex hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions on the heated surfaces could be designed and created en masse and in situ which could revolutionise heat management for industrial applications especially those to enable a new sustainable future.

Professor Yannis Hardalupas Utilisation of zero carbon fuels
Sustainable aviation, marine and power
Erosion of wind turbine blades
Microscale physics and scale up of electrolysers. The control of the rate of generation of hydrogen and oxygen bubbles on the surface of electrodes and the bubble temporal evolution affect the efficiency of electrolysers and the potential for scale-up. An experimental study of the processes involved is proposed.
Professor Gregory Offer

Lithium ion batteries
Systems engineering

A major opportunity in the widespread deployment of electric vehicles is how controlled charging (G2V) and even exporting energy back to the grid (V2G) affects the optimal design and lifetime of the battery pack in the vehicle. We are working on the ability to predict lifetime, based upon an understanding of the fundamental physics of degradation. This gives a potential PhD candidate the ability to explore how different ways of using the battery will affect its lifetime, and therefore the economics and lifecycle impacts of different business models and policies.
Dr Jacqueline Edge

Energy storage
Battery engineering
Hydrogen and fuel cells

The PhD shall explore the environmental and cost impacts of the interplay between the energy grid and distributed energy storage devices, such as electric vehicles and stationary storage, factoring in charging infrastructure, device degradation and applicability for grid and mobility services.
Dr Marc Masen

Bio and green tribology
Alternative lubrication
Soft matter mechanics

Project title: Sustainable lubrication - back to the future?

Our world needs lubricating grease to sustain energy-efficient transport, manufacturing, and power-generation technology. At present most grease is based on lithium/mineral oil chemistries which are environmentally harmful, increasingly expensive and energy-intensive to manufacture. The project will focus on reassessing the potential of clay-based greases, which were originally developed over 80 years ago and have a significantly reduced carbon-footprint: the future of sustainable lubrication may be muddy.

Dr Yatish Patel

Lithium ion batteries
Green technologies

There is a worldwide drive for a sustainable, resilient carbon free future and batteries is a key technology to enable this. As the uptake of batteries increases, battery fires are becoming more frequent, posing novel risks and causing harm to humans, and the environment. We need to ensure batteries are as safe as possible such that the potential benefits batteries and green technologies offer is not undermined by harm caused by fire and the toxic materials released during the extreme event of a battery fire.

Professor Guillermo Rein

Fire safety
Engineering systems
Heat transfer

Fire, and lack of fire safety, are a threat to the sustainability and climate adaptations of energy systems. The area of intersection between energy systems, fire safety and climate change/sustainability: Wildfires disrupting power lines, Fire safety of Li-ion batteries, wind turbines, Photovoltaic panels

Department of Physics

SupervisorsExpertiseProject Details
Professor Jenny  Nelson Materials for solar energy conversion
Evaluation of mitigation potential of new energy technologies
Energy access and sustainable development

Integration of solar photovoltaics with infrastructure, transport, buildings, agriculture and other energy vectors is increasingly important in decarbonising the energy system. Agriculture integrated photovoltaics (agriPV) has potential to benefit food production, food security and energy security while maximising use of land and water. Designing agriPV systems involves optimising PV module design, crop choice and growing conditions, and integration of the system with local resources, energy demand and economy, thus presenting an interdisciplinary challenge. In this project we combine PV device physics and engineering, with crop modelling and system modelling to evaluate the potential of agriPV in both developing and developed-world contexts.

Hundreds of millions live without reliable access to energy while the ambition of sustainable goal 7 looks unlikely to be met by 2030. Distributed renewable energy systems such as solar mini-grids have the potential to accelerate sustainable development whilst avoiding fossil fuel dependency. We use energy system modelling, geospatial modelling and case studies to design and evaluate renewable energy systems and evaluate the impacts of integrated systems on economic potential, health, security, food and water supply.