Post-combustion CO2 capture solvents: addressing the knowledge gap with long-term testing


Supervisors: Dr Abby Samson, Prof Mathieu Lucquiaud, Prof Jon Gibbins, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Sheffield
Industrial supervisors: Dr Xiaomian Baxter, Daniel Mullen, SSE Thermal

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) consists of a series of climate change mitigation technologies. It is essential to achieve the carbon neutrality of the Paris Climate Change agreement (Find out more here)

It is a key technology of the UK government Clean Growth Strategy with an ambitious programme consisting of establishing low-carbon industrial clusters aiming to capture 20-30 Million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030. It is supported by a first phase of eight commercial scale projects across multiple industrial sectors aiming to start operation before 2030.

One key application of Carbon Capture and Storage technologies is the removal of carbon dioxide from industrial and combustion gases before they enter the atmosphere, e.g. from combined cycle gas turbine power plants, energy from waste plants and industrial facilities in cement, steel, chemical, glass, paper and ceramic.

This 4-year experimental EngD project focuses on existing and emerging instrumentation techniques for the monitoring of CO2 capture solvent technologies. It is industrially relevant and is at the forefront of commercial deployment.

Long term testing of solvents is now part of the guidance by the UK Environmental Agencies for the permitting of new post-combustion CO2 capture facilities.

The project is experimental and uses a laboratory test rig operated at industrially representative process conditions over a long period of testing, supported with data and samples provided by UK commercial projects.

The test rig is built to address a knowledge and capacity gap in the long-term testing of solvent management techniques, such as online monitoring of solvent degradation, effective reclaiming of used solvents and the control of atmospheric emissions. It uses open-access solvent technology to allow for publication of the results in the public domain, with transferrable learnings applicable to commercial, proprietary solvents.

The industrial sponsor is SSE Thermal, who owns and operates combined cycle gas turbine power plants in the UK. A 3-month secondment to SSE will take place in the 2nd year of the project to increase industrial relevance, knowledge transfer and establish further collaboration opportunities.

Expected Outcomes:

-    Improved monitoring of solvent, process performance, and atmospheric emissions. 
-    Optimized solvent monitoring strategies, leading to more efficient and environmentally sustainable CCS operations.
-    Advance knowledge and understanding of relevant instrumentation techniques to support the permitting of new post-combustion CO2 capture facilities.

The research environment

The research work will be based in the Energy Research Group within the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Translational Energy Research Centre (TERC) at Sheffield which is a brand new, high profile, innovation focused national research facility. You will be working within an exciting and dynamic group with approximately over 60 researchers undertaking a broad area of energy research with approximately three years' extensive research time in industry, preparing for high-level careers in the energy sector. 

The project will be part of the EPSRC-supported Centre for Doctoral Training in Resilient Decarbonised Fuel Energy Systems. The student who undertakes it will be one of a cohort of over 50 students in a broad range of disciplines across the Universities of Sheffield, Nottingham and Cardiff.  


The studentship will cover full university fees and a tax-free, enhanced annual stipend for four years. The stipend rate for the academic year 2023/24 from the EPSRC is £18,622. This stipend will rise with inflation each academic year. In addition, students receive a stipend enhancement of £3,750 per year.

The studentship is open to UK candidates only, due to restrictions from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council.

The studentship is open to UK home students only, due to restrictions from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council. date

We are seeking applicants to start in September 2023 but could accept a starting date no later than February 2024 for the right applicant.

The applicant

Applications are welcome from graduates with a chemical engineering, mechanical engineering or chemistry background. Other relevant STEM or engineering background and industrial experience will be considered, if relevant.

Please send enquiries to Prof Mathieu Lucquiaud (

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