Solar thermal desalination from seawater is an attractive option to achieve sustainable water production with minimum/zero liquid discharge. Reducing the cost of desalination is a key for affordability, therefore unitisation of waste heat to drive the thermal desalination is considered. Supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) cycles achieve higher efficiency than conventional steam Rankine cycle with a very compact plant footprint, facilitating the capital cost reduction of the concentrated solar power (CSP) plant. This student project will design power cycles using different novel CO2 blends to drive desalination plant, funded by EU-H2020 DESOLINATION project in partnership with Cranfield Industrial PhD partnership scheme. Read more Read less

Advanced CO2 power cycles are more efficient than steam Rankine cycle with a higher potential to reduce the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE). Addition of novel blends with CO2 facilitates integrating the heat rejection from the power cycle to drive an innovative forward osmosis technology. This student project will explore and design advanced power cycle using different novel CO2 blends to enable integrating concentrated solar-driven power cycle with innovative thermal desalination technology, which significantly lowers levelised cost of water and LCOE.

This student project will aim to design, optimise and developing controls of advanced CO2 blend-based power cycle for 1 MWe demonstration plant in Saudi Arabia. The student will be developing the steady-state thermodynamic modelling for the advanced CO2 blend-based power cycle and performance optimisation for different blends. Also, the student will develop a dynamic model of the power cycle for developing plant controls, which will be used to investigate severe operational conditions. In addition, this student project will also explore the cycle improvements with different novel blend combinations for different concentrating solar technologies including parabolic trough and state-of-the-art/ next-generation central power tower plant. Throughout this PhD programme, the student will develop an enhanced understanding of engineering challenges associated with scale-up that informs the construction and operation of systems. This project achieves a technology readiness level (TRL) to 6 and a roadmap to TRL 9 will be formulated, which will directly impact the industry and a wide range of stakeholders.

An exciting research opportunity has arisen for a motivated graduate to join our Centre for Thermal Energy and Materials (CTEM). The Centre has a strong record in applied research in the academic and industrial sectors. Our research areas include advanced power cycle including sCO2 cycle, renewable energy systems including concentrated solar power, thermal desalination, advanced heat recovery systems with efficient heat exchangers, heating and cooling and next generation technologies by reduction in energy demand. CTEM staff has several years research experience in this particular field.

This project will involve collaboration with DESOLINATION Industrial/academic partners relevant to CO2 blend cycle development. The student will work closely with these industrial and academic collaborators. During this PhD programme, the successful student will be expected to present the research outcomes at progress meetings, disseminate the results at international conferences and publish high quality peer-reviewed journal papers.

The student will be eligible to be part of the EU funded DESOLINATION project, whose benefits include attendance at monthly meetings with relevant industrial/academic partners including the progress meeting with whole consortium and funding opportunities for international collaborations and events.

This research studentship is technically challenging. The student will receive a significant level of modelling training including thermodynamic assessment and building a pilot scale facility. The Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme provides a comprehensive package of transferable skills training. The student would also benefit from entrepreneurship training, opportunities for public engagement and career development support. The student will also be able to benefit from an extended professional network including participation in academic and industrial networks to enhance employability and career development.

At a glance

  • Application deadline31 Oct 2021
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Start date10 Jan 2022
  • Duration of award3 years
  • EligibilityUK, EU, Rest of World
  • Reference numberSWEE0157

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or upper second-class UK Honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline, such as Chemical/Process Engineering or Mechanical/Renewable/Industrial Engineering. The ideal candidate should have clear understanding on the steady-state and transient modelling of the power plant and programming skills. The candidate should be self-motivated, have good communication skills for regular interaction with academic community and other stakeholders and have and strong interest for industrial research.


Sponsored by EU H2020 DESOLINATION project in partnership with Cranfield Industrial PhD partnership scheme (CIPPS), this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £18,000 (tax free) plus fees* for three years.

*UK/EU student fee rate

Our Values

Our shared, stated values help to define who we are and underpin everything we do: Ambition; Impact; Respect; and Community. Find out more here. We aim to create and maintain a culture in which everyone can work and study together and realise their full potential.

Diversity and Inclusion

Our equal opportunities and diversity monitoring has shown that women and minority ethnic groups are currently underrepresented within the university and so we actively encourage applications from eligible candidates from these groups.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

For further information please contact: 
Dr. Kumar Patchigolla and Dr. Dhinesh Thanganadar
E: and
T: (0) 1234 750111 Ext: 4124

If you are eligible to apply for this studentship, please complete the online application form.

For further information contact us today:
T: +44 (0)1234 758082