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School of Engineering and Materials Science Research Studentships

Reducing energy-related methane emissions to meet the Global Methane Pledge

Supervisors: Paul BALCOMBE

Application Deadline: 30-01-2022

The Global Methane Pledge at COP26, and the EU’s Methane Strategy last year, signals methane reduction as a critical issue of our time. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, contributing a third of today’s manmade warming, but has received little attention compared to CO2. Methane emissions come from several sources such as natural gas supply chains, biogas and agriculture but our understanding of emissions and mitigation options is poor.

The main aim of the PhD research is to provide a better understanding of energy-related methane emissions via a combination of fieldwork measurement, environmental modelling and techno-economic mitigation optioneering. We will conduct measurement studies using several methane detection technologies including quantitative optical gas imaging, on facilities such as LNG-fuelled ships, LNG facilities, biogas facilities and compressor stations. The next stage is to conduct life cycle environmental assessments that include this new data and identify the technological and operational options available to mitigate these emissions. A probabilistic modelling analysis will be conducted to understand how, and by how much we can reduce methane emissions.

This project will involve working closely with several industry partners to achieve a better understanding of methane emissions and to enable rapid emissions elimination through our research outputs. The studentship forms part of the Green Energy EPSRC doctoral training programme. It would suit those with a strong background in engineering (chemical or similar), or environmental science, and a passion for decarbonisation. So if you want to work with industry and help to enable rapid emissions reduction, this is the project for you!


This studentship is fully funded via the UKRI EPSRC Doctoral Training Programme for 3.5 years and includes a stipend (currently £17,609 in 2021/2022) and Fees.


This year UKRI announced that there will be a limited number of studentships for international students available.  International applicants are encouraged to apply but should note that studentship awards will be subject to eligibility and the availability of funding.

To be classed as a home student, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or  
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classified as an international student.

Further guidance on UKRI Eligibility Criteria is here, and within Annex One of the International Eligibility Guidance.

  • The minimum requirement for this studentship opportunity is a good Honours degree (minimum 2(i) honours or equivalent) or MSc/MRes in a relevant discipline.
  • If English is not your first language, you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ overall with a minimum score of 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in all sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking).
  • Candidates are expected to start from September 2022

Supervisor Contact Details:

For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Dr Paul Balcombe, E-mail:

Application Method:

To apply for this studentship and for entry on to the PhD Full-time Chemical Engineering - Semester 1 (September Start) please follow the instructions detailed on the following webpage:

Research degrees in Engineering:‚Äč

Further Guidance:

Please be sure to include a reference to ‘2022 EPSRC DTP PB’ to associate your application with this studentship opportunity.