The industry-focused environment at Cranfield creates a distinctive background to undertake your MSc or doctoral degree in Energy and Sustainability. You will be working closely with your academic supervisors, many of whom are leading in their area of expertise. Access is available to our impressive pilot-scale test facilities for the duration of your research.
Find out more about funded research opportunities in Energy and Sustainability offering distinctive research projects in collaboration with our industrial partners.
Cranfield also supports high achieving international students wishing to undertake a PhD in Energy and Sustainability. This bursary offers self-funded international students the opportunity to receive a reduction of up to 20% off their fees.
Energy and Sustainability Doctoral Training Programme
We support multi-disciplinary research:
- Currently 126 research students are registered within Energy and Sustainability;
- Cohort approach with monthly events led by students and academics;
- More than 50 external lectures have been hosted during the last three years.
We provide a structured approach to student supervision and administration:
- Two supervisors are assigned to each student, with regular supervisory meetings;
- Annual review of student progress contributes to timely completion of studies;
- Systematic training in research methods, technical writing and presentations;
- Access to postgraduate modules, and world-class research facilities.
EPSRC Renewable Energy Marine Structures Centre for Doctoral Training (REMS)
Cranfield is leading the £7.8m EPSRC funded REMS Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT), which is:
- Aiming to train at least 50 Engineering Doctorate (EngD) and PhD students over an eight year period;
- Leading specialists in the area of Renewable Energy Marine Structures by the time they graduate;
- Admitting ten new students each year for five years;
- A collaborative partnership between Cranfield University and the University of Oxford.
Cranfield Industrial Partnership PhD Scholarships Scheme (CIPPS)
For potential industry clients and non-governmental organisations (NGO) wishing to sponsor PhD research projects in the area of their interests, Cranfield offers an Industrial Partnership PhD Scholarships scheme. This allows industry to help develop their employees, giving them the most relevant and current knowledge in their sector. It also significantly reduces the PhD sponsorship costs from industrial/NGO clients. Under the Scheme, the University covers full student fees and partially covers student stipend.
The scheme is now open for projects to start in the next academic year. As an industrial partner, if you wish to participate in the scheme, please get in touch with one of our academic staff in the Energy Doctor Training Programme to discuss potential project ideas and the level of matched funding. Contact Dr Ying Jiang for more information.
Partnerships with new industry/NGO clients and SMEs are particularly welcome.
Browse Energy and Sustainability research opportunities
PhD student in Nonlinear Process Condition Monitoring
Ruomu received her Bachelor of Engineering degree in Control Science and Engineering from Zhejiang University, China, and Master of Science degree in Process Control from University of Alberta, Canada. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in Energy and Power at Cranfield University. In the meantime, she works as the Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher in Process Condition Monitoring of the H2020 project PRONTO. Her research interests include data analytic techniques and their application to process engineering. In particular, she is looking into data-driven process monitoring approaches and integrating them in the operation and optimisation of chemical processes.
Thesis title: Nonlinear Process Condition Monitoring under Varying Production Regimes
Academic supervisor: Dr Yi Cao, Dr Giorgos Kopanos
Industrial advisor: Dr James Ottewill (ABB Sp. z o. o.)
PhD project outline: The H2020 PRONTO project aims at improving the efficiency and sustainability of process operations considering simultaneously the machinery and process conditions. Fourteen Early Stage Researchers based in 10 organisations, including leading universities and well-known companies in the process industry throughout Europe, work jointly towards this goal. As part of the PRONTO project, this PhD project investigates the development and applications of data-driven process monitoring techniques in order to extract information on the operating status of the process from large-scale data assemblies, in collaboration with ABB Corporate Research Centre in Krakow. The knowledge of the process operating status will be used as a reference for process operation and optimisation, in cooperation with other Early Stage Researchers of PRONTO.
"I am so glad that I chose to start this adventurous and rewarding journey with Cranfield and always fascinated by what it has to offer."
PhD in Unconventional Geothermal Systems
Theo Renaud is a Reservoir Engineer and Geologist with a special interest in geothermal energy, heat transfer and fluid dynamics simulations. He graduated from the National School of Geology in Nancy, France and received a double-diploma MSc degree in Petroleum Geoscience and Reservoir Engineering from the University of Lorraine. He has experience in managing shallow underground aquifer resources and has studied the hydrodynamic modelling of a geothermal reservoir in volcanic area as part of his MSc final project. Theo is now dealing with the numerical assessment of the thermal extraction in very high energetic geothermal systems, aiming at establishing sustainable methods for the production of electricity.
Thesis title: Forced convection Heat Transfer in Unconventional Geothermal Systems: Numerical investigation of Complex Flow Processes near Magmatic Chambers
Supervisors: Dr Patrick Verdin, Prof Gioia Falcone
PhD project outline: Geothermal energy comes from natural heat released by the earth core and can be used to generate power. The aim of this PhD project is to numerically assess the potential of electrical power generation from the heat near magmatic chambers. Whilst natural convection and mixing within magma and hydrothermal circulation in groundwater have been extensively investigated, the understanding of complex processes occurring with supercritical/superheated fluids and convective forces triggered by heat extraction are limited. Free and forced convection are to be investigated in terms of thermal recovery efficiency and sustainability, based on different scenarios. This project will contribute to improving the current understanding of heat transfer from magma to water and to re-evaluating the geothermal resource base worldwide.
"Managing this PhD project is very challenging but represents a thrilling experience in order to improve my scientific maturity and autonomy."
Nur I. Zulkafli
PhD in Operational & Maintenance Planning in Process Industries
Nur is a Lecturer at Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, with 3+ years of teaching experience in engineering-related courses and in supervising final year bachelor degree students. She obtained her Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from Universiti Teknologi Petronas. Currently, she is a second-year PhD student at Cranfield University. Her PhD studies are fully funded by the Ministry of Education Malaysia. She has developed a special interest in production and maintenance planning in process industries to reduce overall costs, resources utilisation and emissions. Since joining Cranfield, she has published an article in Applied Energy and one in the Journal of Cleaner Production. She has presented her work at three national and international conferences and workshops.
Thesis title: Operational and Maintenance Planning in Process Industries
Supervisor: Dr Giorgos Kopanos
PhD Project Outline: Major industrial facilities consist of interconnected production and utility systems. The planning of utility and production systems in most process industries usually uses a traditional sequential planning approach. This approach leads to suboptimal solutions (mainly in terms of energy efficiency and costs) because the interconnected production and utility systems are not optimised at the same time. In this project, the simultaneous operational and maintenance planning of utility and production systems is studied with the main purpose of significantly reducing the energy needs and resources utilisation of the overall system. In brief, the proposed optimisation framework considers performance degradation and recovery models, alternative options for offline cleaning tasks and resource constraints for cleaning tasks for the production and utility units.
- Zulkafli NI, Kopanos GM (2017) Integrated condition-based planning of production and utility systems under uncertainty. Journal of Cleaner Production (in press).
- Zulkafli NI, Kopanos GM (2016) Planning of production and utility systems under unit performance degradation and alternative resource-constrained cleaning policies. Applied Energy 183, 577-602.
- Zulkafli NI, Kopanos GM (2017) Simultaneous planning of production and utility systems under performance degradation. 2017 6th International Symposium on Advanced Control of Industrial Processes (AdCONIP), Taiwan, IEEE, 113-118.
"I have gained academic knowledge and technical experiences by attending various training courses held by the doctoral researchers core development (DRCD) programme."
PhD in Real-time tool to monitor the composition and quality of solid waste materials
Carlos is a Biomedical Engineer with a special interest in computer vision and over 10 years of experience in industry. He obtained his BSc degree from the Universidad Nacional de Entre Ríos (Argentina, 2000) and an MSc with a focus in medical imaging from the University of Tennessee (USA, 2003). He co-founded a company, acting in the board and as the director of software development to successfully commercialise a medical imaging device (VeinViewer®). Looking to apply and expand his experience and knowledge in a different field, he recently completed an MSc in Renewable Energy Technology at Cranfield University and is now pursuing a doctoral research degree in the energy from waste.
Thesis title: Real-time tool to monitor the composition and quality of solid waste materials
Supervisor: Dr Stuart Wagland, Prof Phil Longhurst
PhD Project Outline: Solid waste operators use a series of mechanical and biological technologies to recycle materials and produce waste-derived fuels. The composition of the received waste is variable and unknown to the operator, which affects the quality of the outputs. Advanced technologies focusing on real-time sensors could optimise the entire treatment plant whilst informing the stakeholders. This project will test the hypothesis that solid waste materials can be identified through analysis of optical digital images using deep neural networks, to determine composition of mixed waste and infer fuel properties. This technology could be used at different waste treatment stages, collecting information to feed-back or -forward most of the typical waste treatment processes.
"I have come to really value Cranfield's ties with industry, as my supervisors expertise helped me advance my ideas towards a high-impact applied project."
PhD in Renewable Energy Marine Structures
Debora is a Naval Architect and Marine Engineer, who developed a special interest in the modelling of the dynamics of offshore wind turbines structures. She obtained her Bachelor degree at Genoa University. Always at Genoa University, she completed the MSc double-degree programme in collaboration with Cranfield University, where she attended the Advance Mechanical Engineering course, receiving a degree with distinction. During the MSc studies she had grown a great interest in the mooring systems modelling and, more widely, in models of dynamics for offshore wind turbines. Debora is now a member of the third cohort of the REMS CDT programme enrolled at Cranfield.
Thesis title: Development of Multi-disciplinary Prognostic and Diagnostic Model of Dynamics for the O&M of an Offshore Bottom-fixed Wind Farm
Supervisor: Dr Athanasios Kolios
PhD Project Outline: The need to cut the costs of offshore wind farm assets by improving the O&M scheme, led to the creation of different worldwide project with the common aim of performing research in the areas of structural health monitoring and prognostics management. However, what is generally lacking in these projects is a global view, and the possibility to optimise O&M strategies by integrating interdisciplinary solutions. Only recently the UK’s EPSRC launched the “HOME Offshore” project, which, aiming to fill this gap, join the common effort of both universities and industries. This collaboration wants to investigate an innovative prognostics approach to predicting critical subsystem faults and ageing, coupling it with innovation in sensor technology, robotics and autonomous systems. As a part of this project, this EngD research is aimed to develop a multi-disciplinary model of dynamics for an offshore bottom-fixed turbine, first, and finally for the whole farm, being able to catch and trigger the electro-magnetic disturbances due to stochastic variation of the wind and wave conditions to mechanical faults mapped through all the systems.
"I found collaboration and close contact with other universities and companies most exciting. It made me feel that my work can be worth it, and that there is a real demand/knowledge gap in what I am doing."
PhD student in Carbon Capture and Storage
Mohammed received his Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, and Master of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering (with emphasis in Petroleum Geoscience) from the London South Bank University, UK. He is currently a PhD student in Carbon Capture and Storage, Cranfield University. His research interests include laboratory experimental and numerical investigation into reservoir performance during CO2 storage in saline aquifer, with impurities in the CO2 stream.
Thesis title:Carbon dioxide storage in the UK southern North Sea: Experimental and numerical analysis.
Academic supervisors: Professor Vasilije Manovic and Dr Athanasios Kolios
PhD project outline: The project aim is to evaluate carbon dioxide storage potential in the Bunter Sandstone formation and UK southern North Sea, using experimental and numerical methodologies. The project investigates the effects of CO2 and impurities on the physical reservoir quality in saline aquifer involving high temperature and high pressure hydrothermal and multiphase fluid-rock reactions, and numerical modelling for multiphase fluid-rock reactions for long-term CO2 storage. The knowledge of the process and its implications will provide more confidence in achieving industrial scale CO2 storage as a climate change mitigation strategy, caused mainly by the effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. This is a Petroleum Technology Development Fund (Nigeria) sponsored research and collaboration with the British Geological Survey, Nottingham, UK. The research also involved a visit to the CO2CRC Otway Basin Pilot Project, Australia. It was successfully drawn on work and experience from different fields: Geoscience; Petroleum Engineering; Environment and Sustainability.
"Cranfield ranks among the top-five research intensive universities in the UK and as a research student here you get to be supervised by professors who are top-players in their respective fields."
Luisa is a specialist in environmental resource management. She completed a BSc in Natural Sciences from the University of Sassari, Italy, before attending an internship in the department of Restoration Ecology at Technical University of Munich, Germany. In 2016, she obtained her MSc in Waste and Resources Management from Cranfield University. Luisa is currently a PhD researcher in Energy and Power department at Cranfield University, focusing on thermochemical processing of plastics recovered through enhanced landfill mining.
Thesis title: Upcycling of Contaminated Plastics Recovered through Landfill Mining and Pyrolysis to High-Value Products
Supervisor: Dr Stuart Wagland, Dr Beatriz Fidalgo Fernandez
PhD Project Outline: Investigation on the production of high-value products through pyrolysis of plastic from landfill and addressing the effect of composition, contaminants and degree of degradation of the plastic feedstock on the range of product compounds. Given that plastics are manufactured from fossil feedstock, the properties of the pyrolysis liquids are expected to be similar to those of conventional chemicals and fuels. However, advanced thermal conversion of plastics recovered through landfill mining presents uncertainties and challenges due to the presence of contaminants and chemical degradation which results in more variability of the composition. This project will advance scientific understanding of physicochemical proprieties of different types of excavated plastic, degradation of plastic in landfill, pyrolysis of plastic from landfill mining and composition of pyrolysis oil from excavated plastic.