Doctoral Training Centre in Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and their Applications

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Chemical Engineering


The broad theme areas are Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, and the training will be interdisciplinary based on the skills and experience of the partners which range from Chemical Engineering (Prof Kendall), Chemistry (Prof Schroeder and Dr Anderson), Materials Science (Dr Book), Economics (Prof Green), Bioscience (Prof Macaskie), Applications (Dr Walker), Automotive and Aeronautics (Prof Thring) and Policy/Regulation (Prof Weyman-Jones). Training will also include industry supervision with the 23 companies which have signed up and overseas training with FZJ in Germany and University of Central Florida in the USA.There is an increasing demand for skilled staff in the field of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, which at present has no dedicated UK centre for training, disseminating and co-ordinating with government bodies, industry and the public. This contrasts with the establishment of Forschungszentrum Julich (FZJ) in Germany, ECN in the Netherlands, and Risoe Laboratory in Denmark. Large companies such as Johnson Matthey, Rolls Royce and Air Products have substantial hydrogen and fuel cell projects, with hundreds of employed PhD level scientists and engineers. Recruitment has been a problem in recent years since only a handful of British universities carry out research in this area. But, most significantly, a large amount of private sector investment has now been injected, especially on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in London, such that support to SMEs such as Ceres Power, Intelligent Energy, Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd, ITM, CMR and Voller has risen to several hundred million pounds, requiring hundreds of PhD recruits. Also, since the Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) has now been established in Europe, this 1bn Euro project will add to the very large research funding by organisations such as Siemens, GM, Renault, Ford, FZJ, EADS, CEA, Risoe, ECN etc. Several large centres for research and training exist in Europe, the USA and Japan and it is imperative that Britain increases its student output to keep pace.


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