Project code



School of Mechanical and Design Engineering

Start dates

October, February and April

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD project.

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Technology, and will be supervised by Dr Jovana Radulovic and Dr James Buick.

The work on this project could involve:

  • Research and analysis of thermal storage technologies including both existing approaches and novel solutions
  • Simulation of the performance of different systems (geometries, materials, operational parameters)
  • Designing, building and testing a prototype unit

World-wide energy demand is increasing by the minute. The need for diversification of the energy production systems is additionally augmented by conventional power systems being under increased scrutiny due to more stringent limits on carbon emissions. In recent decades, advances have been made to grow renewable energy production with total renewable energy generation capacity reaching 2,351 GW at the end of last year. The share of renewables in meeting global energy demand is expected to grow by one-fifth in the next five years to reach 12.4% in 2023. Energy storage technologies have great potential for supporting renewable energy systems as they can be deployed at different scales. The utilisation of energy storage technologies vary across the industry, with a number of novel systems still being in developmental stages.

It is this problem that the proposed project will address, through using numerical modeling techniques to evaluate and existing and novel energy storage devices, and establish optimal storage methods for use with renewable generation technologies. The coupling of renewable generation systems with the optimal storage solutions developed in this project will not only pave the way for a further roll out of carbon-free electricity generation in the future, but will, in the future, also open up exciting opportunities to design, build and commercialise the storage technologies in collaboration with local businesses in the region.

The project will investigate existing and novel energy storage technologies to be paired with renewable and alternative energy production systems and waste heat storage. Computational and mathematical tools will be utilised to model various energy systems, optimise their operation and design energy storage structures. Liquid Air Energy Devices (LAED), Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES), Pumped Heat Energy Storage (PHES) and thermal storage, such as phase change materials will be investigated, as well as their suitability to be incorporated in smart grids and power electronics.

The initial stage of the project will involve developing a database of suitable storage technologies including both existing approaches and novel solutions, which are currently being developed. As well as outlining the operation of the storage technique, special attention will be paid to its operational range and how this matches with different renewable technologies. The mathematical modeling will build-up from the fundamental processes within the storage device and coupling them together to provide a full model of the storage solution. Simulations will be run to establish the performance of the storage in a range of typical operating conditions and optimise the geometry, flow and thermodynamic parameters and operating materials.

You will have an opportunity to work with alongside team of experts, passionate about tackling energy challenges that industry and society are facing nowadays and develop new solutions and skills to benefit all.

Fees and funding

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).

2022/2023 fees (applicable for October 2022, February and April 2023 start) 

PhD and MPhil

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students 

  • Full-time: £4,596 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 (may be subject to annual increase)

EU students
(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £4,596 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 (may be subject to annual increase)

International students

  • Full-time: £18,300 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £9,150 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2022/23 please visit this page.

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Entry Requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

A successful applicant would be fluent in numerical methods and/or programming. Strong background in thermodynamics and computational modelling is desirable.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Jovana Radulovic ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Mechanical and Design Engineering PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.

When applying please quote project code: SMDE5410220