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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


PhD: Future low-emission ammonia gas turbines

Mechanical Engineering
Stipend :
Full tuition fees and tax-free stipend of £17,285 per annum (for 3 years)

About the Project

Gas turbines are essential components of the future energy mix, with applications in power generation and aviation. To achieve large-scale decarbonisation in the energy sector, manufacturers are developing turbines which operate on non-carbon fuels like ammonia. Although existing gas turbines offer considerable fuel flexibility, operation with these non-conventional fuels is still challenging due to issues of flame blow-off, flashback, thermoacoustic instabilities and pollutant emissions. The development of advanced combustion technologies which are compatible with a diverse range of fuels necessitates a fundamental understanding of the complex mechanisms governing combustion and pollutant formation. Optical diagnostic techniques are extensively employed to study these phenomena as they enable highly-resolved, non-intrusive measurements of flame structure and species.

This studentship is linked to an EPSRC funded project (further details: and will involve development of methods and techniques that allow investigation of combustion and pollutant formation phenomena relevant to gas turbines (GT) operating on ammonia. The research will have emphasis on exploring novel ammonia combustor design, setting up and using advanced laser diagnostics to characterise exhaust emissions from ammonia combustion, and develop mitigation strategies in order to reduce the environmental impact of these emissions. The work has potential to directly feed into development of future ammonia gas turbine engines.

The candidate will be embedded within a specialist and highly motivated research team at UCL, and will have opportunities to liaise with leading technology companies. The position will also offer opportunities to engage in teaching assistant activities, and work with researchers and engineers in the Energy and Environment group. As a PhD student at UCL, the candidate will benefit from training in high-impact research and high-performance computing, and access to state-of-the-art experimental laboratories. Furthermore, the candidate will be encouraged to publish work in leading journals and present findings in national/international conferences.

Person Specification

Applicants must have a first class of upper 2:1 degree in engineering, chemistry, physics or related discipline, with an interest in thermofluids, experimental characterisation, and data analysis. Excellent organisational, interpersonal and communication skills are essential. Background in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, design (CAD) and MATLAB is desirable.


This funding is for UK/EU nationals; international students may apply, however, fees will be capped at UK/EU level. Please refer here for eligibility criteria.



Eligible applicants should first contact Professor Rama Balachandran () or Dr Midhat Talibi () quoting the job reference. Please enclose a one-page statement outlining suitability for the project and two pages CV (including contact details of two referees). The supervisory team will arrange interviews for short-listed candidates. After interview, the successful candidate will be given instructions to formally apply online via the UCL website. For further information, click here.

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