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Novel production of renewable hydrogen from agricultural and human waste

Eligibility: UK/EU/International

Award Details: £15,000 bursary plus tuition fees 

Duration: Full Time 3 years 6 months Fixed Term

Application deadline: June 9th

Informal enquiries are essential before application; contact Dr. John Graves to discuss this opportunity.

Congratulations on taking your first steps toward a Research Degree with Coventry’s Faculty of Engineering and Computing. As an ambitious and innovative University, we’re investing an initial £100m into our new research strategy, ‘Excellence with Impact’. Through original approaches from world-leading experts, we’re aiming for our research to make a tangible difference to the way we live. As a research student you are an integral part of Coventry’s lively and diverse research community and contribute to our reputation for excellence. With our exceptional facilities and superb support mechanisms you are afforded every opportunity for academic success.

The Project

The UK Government has made a clear commitment to increasing the deployment of renewable energy in the sectors of electricity, heat and transport. Hydrogen is seen as an alternative clean energy source to replace polluting traditional fuels however, 95 % of the world's hydrogen is derived from non-renewable fuels. Alternative sources of hydrogen are required. This Ph.D. project will focus on a combined electrochemical / biological approach to convert agricultural and human waste to renewable hydrogen. It will bring together knowledge from both disciplines to develop a process for producing electricity and heat from abundant waste streams.  The focus will be on novel, low cost solutions to remove technical barriers that are preventing efficient, renewable hydrogen production from a truly green energy source.

About the Centre/Department

This PhD is a cross-faculty studentship between MME and the Applied Biological and Exercise Sciences research centres.

The Centre for Manufacturing and Materials Engineering (MME) builds on our historic research strengths at Coventry. This area of research will take a holistic approach focussing on the three strands of Materials, Processes, and Products.

The Centre for Research in Applied Biological and Exercise Sciences furthers the understanding of fundamental biological pathways and processes, applying biological sciences to advance diagnosis and prevention of disease. This project will support theme 1 which focusses on cellular and molecular systems, which in this case is the identification, isolation and scalable production of a relevant biological enzyme for waste processing.

Successful Applicants

Successful applicants will have:

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in Chemistry, Materials Science, Biotechnology or Biochemistry with a minimum 60% mark in the Project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average, or
  • A Masters Degree in electrochemistry, materials science or biotechnology will be considered as an equivalent. The Masters must have been attained with overall marks at merit level (60%). In addition, the dissertation or equivalent element in the Masters must also have been attained with a mark at merit level (60%).
  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study.
  • Language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).


  • Knowledge and/or experience of electro-synthesis, renewable hydrogen generation, fuel cells, gas chromatography, microbiological techniques would be advantageous
  • Experience (or willingness to quickly learn) biotechnology, electrochemistry.

Eligibility & Application Procedure

Application Procedure:

Application form and covering letter and a CV are required.

Application information can be found in our how to apply section. Before completing the application please contact Dr. John Graves (cc'ing when you do) for an initial informal discussion about the opportunity.


All UK/EU/International students are eligible to apply that meet the academic requirements, the eligibility criteria can be found making an application page.