Postgraduate

Energy MPhil, PhD

Energy MPhil, PhD

MPhil - full time: minimum 12 months, part time: minimum 24 months
PhD - full time: minimum 36 months, part time: minimum 72 months

Profile

Our Energy programmes allow you to specialise in areas such as bio-energy, novel geo-energy, sustainable power, fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, power electronics, drives and machines, and the sustainable development and use of key resources.

We can supervise MPhil and PhD projects in topics that relate to our main areas of research, which are:

Bio-energy

Our research spans the whole supply chain:

  • growing novel feedstocks (various biomass crops, algae etc)
  • processing feedstocks in novel ways
  • converting feedstocks into fuels and chemical feedstocks
  • developing new engines to use the products

Cockle Park Farm has an innovative anaerobic digestion facility. Work at the farm will develop, integrate and exploit technologies associated with the generation and efficient utilisation of renewable energy from land-based resources, including biomass, biofuel and agricultural residues.

We also develop novel technologies for gasification and pyrolysis. This large multidisciplinary project brings together expertise in agronomy, land use and social science with process technologists and engineers and is complemented by molecular studies on the biology of non-edible oilseeds as sources for production of biodiesel.

Novel geo-energy

New ways of obtaining clean energy from the geosphere is a vital area of research, particularly given current concerns over the limited remaining resources of fossil fuels.

Newcastle University has been awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education for its world-renowned Hydrogeochemical Engineering Research and Outreach (HERO) programme. Building on this record of excellence, the Sir Joseph Swan Centre for Energy Research seeks to place the North East at the forefront of research in ground-source heat pump systems, and other larger-scale sources of essentially carbon-free geothermal energy, and developing more responsible modes of fossil fuel use.

Our fossil fuel research encompasses both the use of a novel microbial process, recently patented by Newcastle University, to convert heavy oil (and, by extension, coal) to methane, and the coupling of carbon capture and storage (CCS) to underground coal gasification (UCG) using directionally drilled boreholes. This hybrid technology (UCG-CCS) is exceptionally well suited to early development in the North East, which still has 75% of its total coal resources in place.

Sustainable power

We undertake fundamental and applied research into various aspects of power generation and energy systems, including:

  • the application of alternative fuels such as hydrogen and biofuels to engines and dual fuel engines
  • domestic combined heat and power (CHP) and combined cooling, heating and power (trigeneration) systems using waste vegetable oil and/or raw inedible oils
  • biowaste methanisation
  • biomass and biowaste combustion, gasification
  • biomass co-combustion with coal in thermal power plants
  • CO2 capture and storage for thermal power systems
  • trigeneration with novel energy storage systems (including the storage of electrical energy, heat and cooling energy)
  • engine and power plant emissions monitoring and reduction technology
  • novel engine configurations such as free-piston engines and the reciprocating Joule cycle engine

Fuel cell and hydrogen technologies

We are recognised as world leaders in hydrogen storage research. Our work covers the entire range of fuel cell technologies, from high-temperature hydrogen cells to low-temperature microbial fuel cells, and addresses some of the complex challenges which are slowing the uptake and impact of fuel cell technology.

Key areas of research include:

  • biomineralisation
  • liquid organic hydrides
  • adsorption onto solid phase, nano-porous metallo-carbon complexes

Sustainable development and use of key resources

Our research in this area has resulted in the development and commercialisation of novel gasifier technology for hydrogen production and subsequent energy generation.

We have developed ways to produce alternative fuels, in particular a novel biodiesel pilot plant that has attracted an Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) AspenTech Innovative Business Practice Award.

Major funding has been awarded for the development of fuel cells for commercial application and this has led to both patent activity and highly-cited research. Newcastle is a key member of the SUPERGEN Fuel Cell Consortium. Significant developments have been made in fuel cell modelling, membrane technology, anode development and catalyst and fuel cell performance improvements.

Find out more about staff specialisms and our current research projects.

Related Degrees

All related programmes

Training & Skills

You will receive a tailored package of support from the University to ensure you maximise your research and future career. There are also opportunities to undertake your research at Newcastle within a Doctoral Training Centre, Centre for Doctoral Training or Doctoral Training Partnership.

Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme and Student Support

Our Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme is a community made up of postgraduates from the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering.

It will help you to develop the skills and experience that the UK Research Councils expect you to have, or to develop, during your research degree.

Our programme will help you to:

  • complete a training needs analysis, so that you know what your current skills are and where you need help and development
  • use your training needs analysis to create your personal development plan
  • identify appropriate workshops or other events that will help you most and best address your development needs
  • gain the personal and professional key skills development for the successful completion of your research degree

Postgraduate Research Student Support

Our Research Student Support Team will provide support and advice throughout your studies. The team can help you on a variety of issues from registration to producing your transcripts.

Doctoral training centres and partnerships

Being part of a Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) or Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) means that you can benefit from the research expertise and training of a number of leading universities, academic schools and academics. You'll also be studying alongside a cohort of other PhD students.

These centres are often interdisciplinary, combining expertise and training from multiple subject areas. You may also be able to collaborate with an industrial or commercial organisation.

Your PhD will be funded. Normally the fees are covered and you'll receive a tax-free stipend or living expenses. Additional funding is sometimes available to cover things such as conference attendance and research materials.

The centres/ partnerships below may have PhD opportunities available in your subject area.

Fees & Funding

2020-2021 fees

Find out more about our tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts.

EU students starting at Newcastle in 2020 will pay the UK (Home) tuition fee for the full duration of their course.

Funding opportunities

Entry Requirements

A 2:1 honours degree and/or a master's, or international equivalent, in a relevant subject.

Find out the equivalent qualifications for your country.

Use the drop down above to find your country. If your country isn't listed please email: international.recruitment@ncl.ac.uk for further information.

English Language Requirements

Select an English language test from the list to view our English language entry requirements.

Please email us at international.recruitment@ncl.ac.uk for further information.

If you have lower English Language scores, you may be accepted onto a pre-sessional English course. 

You may need an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate. You'll need to get this before you can get your visa or study on this programme. We'll let you know about the ATAS requirement in your offer letter.

How to Apply

You apply online, track your application and contact the admissions team via our applicant portal. Our step by step guide can help you on your way.

Before you apply you need to find and contact a research supervisor from the Science, Agriculture and Engineering Graduate School.

Start dates

There are usually three possible start dates, although in some circumstances an alternative start date can be arranged:

  • January
  • April
  • September

There is no application closing date for this course, but specific deadlines for funding may apply.

We suggest international students apply at least two months before the course starts. This is so that you have enough time to make the necessary arrangements.

Deposit

If you live outside the UK/EU you must:

  • pay a deposit of £1,500
  • or submit an official letter of sponsorship

The deposit is payable after you receive an offer to study at Newcastle University. The deposit is non-refundable, but is deducted from your tuition fees when you register.

Contact

Dr Yaodong Wang
Sir Joseph Swan Centre for Energy Research
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5672
Email: SoE.PGR.MechEng@ncl.ac.uk 

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