Multiphase flow in responsive media: Hydrate formation in Carbon Geosequestration

Eligibility: UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/International (including EU at international rates from Sept 21)

Duration: Full time - between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 27 May 2023

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2023

To find out more about the project, please contact Dr Ran Holtzman.

Project details

This interdisciplinary project aims to improve understanding of the physics underlying hydrate formation in porous media during carbon geosequestration. In this process, liquid CO2 injected for long-term storage into depleted gas fields can generate hydrates as it mixes with groundwater, forming crustal fingers (via the so-called "chemical garden" phenomena). This is a self-arresting process, as the crust slows down the transport and further mixing of CO2 by blocking the pore space. 

Under the supervision of Dr. Holtzman (Coventry University), Dr. Goehring (Nottingham Trent University, NTU), Dr. Rochelle and Dr. Kilpatrick (British Geological Survey, BGS), the candidate will use cutting-edge numerical and experimental methods to assess the interplay between fluid dynamics and hydrate formation in conditions representative of reservoirs several km deep underground.

To gain such understanding, you will develop a predictive model of hydrate formation which resolves the mass and heat transfer including the thermodynamics (phase changes) and the self-arresting mechanism of hydrate crust formation using state of the art computational techniques.

You will also spend part of your degree at the Hydrates and Ices Laboratory of the BGS. There, you will develop complementary experiments of hydrate formation under controlled, high-pressure conditions. This involves pumping CO2 into water-saturated porous media, while monitoring pressure and saturation as injection proceeds. MRI (with NTU expertise and equipment) will be used to provide live images of the growing hydrates.

We seek a highly-talented, motivated, and open-minded candidate, with background in physics, fluid mechanics, geosciences, or a related discipline. Experience with laboratory experiments as well as computer simulations is highly desirable. Within this collaborative project, partially funded by the BGS (NERC), part of this PhD will be embedded in Nottingham with the BGS/NTU, exploiting their world-class experimental facilities.


Tuition fees, stipend and additional allowances.


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities. 

The candidate will benefit from the exciting, research excellence driven environment in Nottingham Trent University and the British Geological Survey (BGS), and the world-class experimental facilities in BGS.

Candidate specification

  • A bachelor’s (honours) degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum classification of 2:1 and a minimum mark of 60% in the project element (or equivalent), or an equivalent award from an overseas institution.
  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
  • An adequate proficiency in English must be demonstrated by applicants whose first language is not English.  The general requirement is a minimum overall IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four sections, or the TOEFL iBT test with a minimum overall score of 95 with a minimum of 21 in each of the four sections.

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Dr Ran Holtzman

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