Contract opportunity: Study for National Infrastructure Commission – Infrastructure and digital systems resilience

Contract summary

Industry: Research and Development

Value of contract: £10k – £20k

Closing date: 06 April 2017

Contract start date: 18 April 2017

Contract end date: 17 August 2017


The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) is an independent body which provides the government with impartial, expert advice on major long-term infrastructure challenges.

The NIC is currently preparing the UK’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA) setting out the Commission’s assessment of long-term infrastructure needs on a 30-year time horizon with recommendations to the government. The NIA will cover transport, digital communications, energy, water and wastewater, flood risk management and solid waste, making a holistic analysis which takes accounts of the various interdependencies between the sectors and cross-cutting issues.

As part of the NIA, the NIC is keen to explore the trend towards digital infrastructure systems from a resilience perspective. More specifically, the NIC’s interest is in the potential for such systems to lead to frequent and highly disruptive accidents, distinct in origin (although not necessarily impact) from malicious acts. The focus of this procurement is to use the available literature, data and evidence to identify and explore key issues – producing a set of recommendations including further issues to review. The NIC may decide to commission further work on this topic, depending on whether it sees benefit to the NIA or other studies, based on the outputs of this procurement.

To find out more about this opportunity, or to apply, go to

BEIS contract opportunity: ‘Hydrogen supply chain technical evidence and modelling tool’

Closing date: Monday 13th February 2017, 3:00pm

Estimated total value: £250,000, divided into 2 lots.

The UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are seeking tenders for work on Hydrogen supply chain technical evidence and modelling tool. The procurement documents are available for unrestricted and full direct access at:

The main aim of this project is to improve our current understanding of the technical-infrastructural requirements, and associated energy system costs, for a transition towards a reliance on low carbon hydrogen to meet the demand for heat. This will involve:

  1. collating and assessing the evidence base and
  2. developing a modelling tool.

The primary focus of this work will be to assess hydrogen infrastructure evidence for heat in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. The tool should also be able to incorporate the appropriate functionality to allow it to model geographical demands.

Contract start date: 6 March 2017

Contract end date: 14 August 2017

Find out more and register your interest here.

PhD Studentship: Utilising hydrogen to mitigate intermittency in renewable generation

University of Bath

Closing date: Saturday 17 December

Full-time, 3.5 year placement, starting by the 27 March 2017

Funding£14,296 pa

Location: University of Bath

This funding is only open to applicants with Home fee status, or EU nationals who have been residing in the UK for the past 3 years.

This is an exciting PhD project, funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and EPSRC, in the highly topical area of renewable energy and decarbonisation of electricity and heat. The successful applicant will join a new group in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath already with a strong track record of developing leading models for large-scale integrated systems. You will also spend part of the project working in the Engineering group at BEIS: an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience and to make a direct, meaningful impact in your research.

The UK has vast renewable resources that could be used to decarbonise much of the electricity and heat demands but due to their intermittent nature it will be difficult to integrate large amounts into the energy system and ensure that they are utilised fully. Energy storage can increase the utilisation of these renewable technologies but large-scale electricity storage is not currently practical. However, hydrogen may be a more viable solution because it can be stored by injecting it into the natural gas grid, where it will directly contribute to the decarbonisation of any demand for natural gas, e.g. heating and electricity generation. Salt caverns have the capacity to store the quantities of energy required for inter-seasonal storage, e.g. allowing solar energy in the summer to be used for heating in the winter.

The aim of this project is to identify options for the generation, storage and transportation of hydrogen to decarbonise energy provision in the UK by developing a mathematical model. A number of themes will be examined but principally we will aim to consider the following:

  • How hydrogen can be used as a power storage mechanism in order to decarbonise the power system without the penalties of conventional back-up generation.
  • The transition from the current energy system to any future system is very important. Therefore the multi-vector model that we will develop will include long-term investment and planning decisions to determine the most cost effective, environmentally-friendly transition to the future network while also determining what that network should be.
  • Other opportunities for systems integration such as using waste heat from the electrolyser and from the gas-to-power plants in district heating systems.

To read more, and to apply, go to If you would like to find out more about the project, then please contact Dr. Sheila Samsatli (

PhD opportunities in fuel cells


The Energy 2050 Institute, based at the University of Sheffield, is one of the UK’s leading energy research institutions. Over 250 PhD students work with the institute on energy matters, and there are currently several PhD openings in Fuel Cell and Hydrogen technology:


 PEMFC technology

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma, Professor Derek Ingham and Dr Kevin Hughes

Fuel cells have been considered as one of the promising technologies for the next generation energy production systems, because of their high energy efficiency and low pollutant emission. However, fuel cell technology is still in its early stage of development. Many scientifically challenging problems have to be solved in order to make it cost effective and thus commercially viable.

In this project, an experimental investigation into the performance of different designs of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) will be undertaken; this will involve the manufacture and testing of different PEMFC designs, along with the manufacture and testing of novel non-metal based catalysts to replace the use of Platinum, a major cost component of current PEMFCs.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham on


 Molecular modelling and experimental investigation of the oxygen reduction reaction in PEM fuel cells

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma, Professor Derek Ingham and Dr Kevin Hughes

Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cells are of great promise for future energy production systems, encompassing large scale down to portable power source applications, with the promise of high efficiency and minimal pollutant emission. A major drawback is the cost of production, dominated by the quantity of an expensive platinum catalyst required for the oxygen reduction reaction. Recent research indicates promising replacement catalysts based on non-metal carbon compounds doped with a variety of elements (for example nitrogen, sulphur, selenium). This project will involve the use of the Gaussian 09 program to perform detailed electronic structure modelling of candidate systems to assess their efficacy and investigate the detailed mechanism of these oxygen reduction reactions. In addition, we will synthesise promising candidates and test their performance in our experimental fuel cell test facilities, where we have the equipment to manufacture and test our own PEM fuel cells.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham on


Improvement of the efficiency of PEM fuel cells through the use of appropriate sealing means

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma, Professor Derek Ingham and Dr Kevin Hughes

Fuel cells are very strong competitors to the conventional energy conversion technologies which are responsible for the emission of the greenhouse gases. The most prominent type of fuel cells are proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells. PEM fuel cells must be well-sealed in order to perform reliably and prevent the leakage of hydrogen. Typically, gaskets are used to seal the PEM fuel cells, though they must be selected with great care. The selection of the inappropriate sealing gasket may lead to a serious decline in the performance of the fuel cell. In most cases, this is due to the poor electrical contact between the electrodes and the current collectors of the fuel cell. One of the main objectives of this project is to theoretically and experimentally optimise the parameters that affect the contact between the electrode and the current collector in PEM fuel cells, most importantly the thickness and the stiffness of both the electrode and sealing gasket.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham on


 Novel gas diffusion layers and catalyst supports for proton exchange membrane fuel cells

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma, Professor Derek Ingham and Dr Kevin Hughes

Fuel cells have been considered as one of the promising technologies for the next generation energy production systems, because of their high energy efficiency and low pollutant emission. However, fuel cell technology is still in its early stage of development. Many scientifically challenging problems have to be solved in order to make them cost effective and thus commercially viable. In this project, novel designs of gas diffusion layer and catalyst support will be investigated. This will involve the synthesis and characterisation of novel mesoporous materials with highly ordered structures and high surface area and pore volume. These have potential in terms of improved electrical conductivity and catalyst support over conventional carbon fibre based gas diffusion layers.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham on

Proposals wanted to identify salt caverns suitable for hydrogen storage

ETI Logo

Deadline to submit intention of proposal: Wednesday 11th May 2016

Deadline for final proposal: Thursday 2nd June 2016

Anticipated project timescale: 2nd September 2016 – 1 March 2017

A new project is being launched today by the Energy Technologies Institute to examine in further detail the potential for storing hydrogen and hydrogen gas mixtures in salt caverns which can then be used in gas turbines when demand for electricity is high.

An ETI report published last year highlighted the potential role hydrogen storage could play in a clean, responsive power system. It detailed how using salt caverns to store hydrogen to be used for power generation reduces the level of investment required at a system level to build new clean power station capacity. The report showed how a single H2 cavern could cater for the peak energy demands and fluctuations of a whole city.

There are over 30 large salt caverns in use in the UK today storing natural gas for the power and heating market.

This latest ETI project will identify and examine three existing salt caverns in Cheshire, Teesside and East Yorkshire that could be used to store hydrogen to be used in power generation.

For more information on the project, including the request for proposals document, click through here.

Internship opportunity for final year PhD/MSc students at Toyota (Brussels): technical trend analysis of FC and electric vehicles

Toyota Motor Europe Jobsite

Ref 109288
Location Zaventem
Function R&D
Job Type Students

109288 Internship R&D Technical Trend Analysis: Green Society

Company general information

TOYOTA is one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers and a leading global corporation.  Founded in 1937. Toyota now sells vehicles in 170 countries and employs over 300.000 people.

Based in Brussels, Belgium, and staffed by 2.700 people and more than 60 nationalities, Toyota Motor Europe (TME) handles the wholesale marketing of Toyota and Lexus vehicles, parts & accessories, and manages Toyota’s European R&D, manufacturing and engineering operations.

Team/division description

Toyota Motor Europe is responsible for the planning, development, production and sales of cars matching European market requirements. The Technology Trends Analysis Division supports the R&D, Sales and Corporate Planning Divisions with the mission to align Toyota business with both the Future Energy needs and the Climate Change situation. In order for Toyota to contribute to the Global Society, the Technology Trends Analysis Division gathers, analyses and predicts major movements in the fields of Energy (technical breakthroughs, policies, market needs,…), Mobility (customers, cities, …) and Standardisation. The Energy Research Group also supports the implementation of innovative technologies  that use new energy carriers.

Project Description

Recently Toyota launched the Toyota Mirai, the much anticipated Fuel Cell Vehicle running on pure hydrogen as the ultimate solution towards zero-emissions mobility. In addition, Toyota remains committed to electric (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHV). To enable the introduction of the Mirai as well as to accelerate the wider adoption of electrified powertrains like the Prius PHV, additional technological improvement and novel, out-of-the-box approaches are required. Such approaches would take into account future societal needs, energy security as well as future energy production and distribution models. The co-evaluation of these parameters in order to provide a clear, well documented strategic direction for the company’s future technological decisions is very essential.

The successful candidate will be involved in the following activities:
1. Produce information material about the current and future energy and automotive trends in Europe.
2. Analyse energy market movements and identify potential opportunities for the automotive market.
3. Contribute to the group’s activities targeting the accelerated EV/PHEV/FCV integration into society via:
 Investigation of cost effective green hydrogen production methods.
 Investigation of the batteries technology and trends evolution in the coming 10 years.

Your profile

• Student in last year of study (can be either MSc or PhD), mechanical, electrical or chemical engineering.
• Good knowledge and high interest in both the energy and the automotive field.
• Team player but also able to work in an independent way, hands-on mentality, sense of communication.
• Highly competent in the use of  Word, Excel, PowerPoint.
• Fluent in English; any other European language (French,  German…) is a plus.

Additional information
Place of employment: Belgium – Brussels (Evere & Zaventem) : Toyota Motor Europe,  Head Office  & Technical Centre
Starting date: June 2016
Duration: Minimum 6 months. Expected 12 months.
Confidentiality: Due to business requirement, not all performed projects can be reflected in the internship report. This issue needs to be discussed with candidate/school in advance.
Applications can be made here, select 109288 Internship R&D Technical Trend Analysis: Green Society from the list of jobs.