Skip to main content

CO2 capture using MOF membranes


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Friday 17 April 2020
Project start date
Thursday 1 October 2020
Country eligibility
UK and EU
Competition funded
Source of funding
Research council
Dr Sean Collins and Dr Javier Fernandez-Garcia
School of Chemical and Process Engineering, School of Chemistry
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The carbon dioxide challenge is one of the most pressing problems facing our planet. The use of membranes for gas separation technologies has gained attention as an alternative to pressure, temperature and/or vacuum swing adsorption because it has lower energy consumption and infrastructure costs in conjunction with easier modes of operation. Historically, polymers have been used owing to their low production costs, mechanical flexibility and ease of processability. However, polymeric membranes suffer from short lifetimes and limited thermal and chemical stability. When polymeric membranes are applied to the separation of CO2 under flue or natural gas conditions, it is difficult to avoid plasticization of the polymers and a trade-off arises between achieving high permeability versus high selectivity. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have increasingly been viewed as a viable material for use in membrane-based gas separation processes owing to their capability in overcoming the challenges presented by polymeric membranes. Indeed, considerable achievements have been made using MOF-based membranes for increasing both the selectivity and permeability parameters in CO2-containing gas separation processes. Since the development of the MOF field in its current form more than two decades ago, priority has been placed on the synthesis of new structures. However, more recently, a clear trend has emerged in shifting the emphasis from material design to exploring the chemical and physical properties of those already known.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>The aim of this work is to screen various synthesised MOF membrane materials and identify an optimal membrane structure in terms of efficiency for capture, processability, and durability. This material will be used subsequently in a laboratory scale reactor at the University of Leeds. The MOF will be characterised to determine their physical and mechanical properties such as porosity, surface area, strength and structure and CO2 uptake. The chemical process will be modelled using available software such as Aspen or Matlab. The experimental data obtained will be used to validate the model. In the later stage, the project will be continued to scale-up the process to pilot scale for potential commercialisation of the process.</p> <p>The student will use a broad range of analytical and characterization tools as well as setting up and optimizing reaction testing. The student will also have the opportunity to participate in external facilities research, including at the electron Physical Sciences Imaging Centre at the Diamond Light Source (Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK) and at SuperSTEM, the EPSRC National Facility for Advanced Electron Microscopy (Daresbury, Cheshire, UK). The project will be embedded within a multidisciplinary environment across the School of Chemical and Process Engineering as well as the School of Chemistry and the Bragg Centre for Materials Research.</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &lsquo;CO2 capture using MOF membranes&rsquo; and <a href="">Dr. Fernandez-Garcia</a> as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>UK/EU &ndash; Engineering &amp; Physical Sciences Research Council Studentships paying academic fees of &pound;4,600 for Session 2020/21, together with a maintenance grant of &pound;15,285 for Session 2020/21 paid at standard Research Council rates for 3.5 years. UK applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance. European Union applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course. Funding is awarded on a competitive basis.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email <a href=""></a> or by telephone +44(0) 113 343 5057.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>