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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L015749/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fuel Cells and their Fuels - Clean Power for the 21st Century
Principal Investigator: Steinberger-Wilckens, Professor R
Other Investigators:
Brandon, Professor NP Jackson, Professor L Rees, Dr NV
Walker, Professor GS Brett, Professor D
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Adelan Ltd AFC Energy Airmax Group
Arcola Energy BAE Systems Cenex
Ceres Power Ltd Eminate Limited EPL Composite Solutions
Hart Materials Limited Hi Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Inst Idea Source
Intelligent Energy Ltd ITM Power Plc Knowledge Transfer Networks KTN
McCamley Middle East Ltd UK Miba Coatings Group MiCo Group
Microcab Industries Limited Morgan Motor Company National Physical Laboratory
PV3 Technologies Ltd Revolve technologies Ltd Riversimple Movement Ltd
Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) Shell Technology Strategy Board (Innovate UK)
Zytek Group Ltd
Department: Chemical Engineering
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 April 2014 Ends: 28 February 2023 Value (£): 4,486,482
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Fuel Cell Technologies Sustainable Energy Vectors
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Energy
Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Oct 2013 EPSRC CDT 2013 Interviews Panel C Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The CDT proposal 'Fuel Cells and their Fuels - Clean Power for the 21st Century' is a focused and structured programme to train >52 students within 9 years in basic principles of the subject and guide them in conducting their PhD theses. This initiative answers the need for developing the human resources well before the demand for trained and experienced engineering and scientific staff begins to strongly increase towards the end of this decade. Market introduction of fuel cell products is expected from 2015 and the requirement for effort in developing robust and cost effective products will grow in parallel with market entry.

The consortium consists of the Universities of Birmingham (lead), Nottingham, Loughborough, Imperial College and University College of London. Ulster University is added as a partner in developing teaching modules. The six Centre directors and the 60+ supervisor group have an excellent background of scientific and teaching expertise and are well established in national and international projects and Fuel Cell, Hydrogen and other fuel processing research and development.

The Centre programme consists of seven compulsory taught modules worth 70 credit points, covering the four basic introduction modules to Fuel Cell and Hydrogen technologies and one on Safety issues, plus two business-oriented modules which were designed according to suggestions from industry partners. Further - optional - modules worth 50 credits cover the more specialised aspects of Fuel Cell and fuel processing technologies, but also include socio-economic topics and further modules on business skills that are invaluable in preparing students for their careers in industry. The programme covers the following topics out of which the individual students will select their area of specialisation:

- electrochemistry, modelling, catalysis;

- materials and components for low temperature fuel cells (PEFC, 80 and 120 -130 degC), and for high temperature fuel cells (SOFC) operating at 500 to 800 degC;

- design, components, optimisation and control for low and high temperature fuel cell systems; including direct use of hydrocarbons in fuel cells, fuel processing and handling of fuel impurities; integration of hydrogen systems including hybrid fuel-cell-battery and gas turbine systems; optimisation, control design and modelling; integration of renewable energies into energy systems using hydrogen as a stabilising vector;

- hydrogen production from fossil fuels and carbon-neutral feedstock, biological processes, and by photochemistry; hydrogen storage, and purification; development of low and high temperature electrolysers;

- analysis of degradation phenomena at various scales (nano-scale in functional layers up to systems level), including the development of accelerated testing procedures;

- socio-economic and cross-cutting issues: public health, public acceptance, economics, market introduction; system studies on the benefits of FCH technologies to national and international energy supply.

The training programme can build on the vast investments made by the participating universities in the past and facilitated by EPSRC, EU, industry and private funds. The laboratory infrastructure is up to date and fully enables the work of the student cohort.

Industry funding is used to complement the EPSRC funding and add studentships on top of the envisaged 52 placements.

The Centre will emphasise the importance of networking and exchange of information across the scientific and engineering field and thus interacts strongly with the EPSRC-SUPERGEN Hub in Fuel Cells and Hydrogen, thus integrating the other UK universities active in this research area, and also encourage exchanges with other European and international training initiatives. The modules will be accessible to professionals from the interacting industry in order to foster exchange of students with their peers in industry.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk