A postgraduate scholarship
A four-year scholarship package totalling $46,000 per annum for full-time domestic PhD students studying Science (Physics, Chemistry) or Engineering (Chemical, Biomolecular). 
The CSIRO Industry PhD Program (iPhD) is a research training program, focusing on applied research that benefits industry by solving real-world challenges. It aims to produce the next generation of innovation leaders with the skills to work at the interface of research and industry in Australia.
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Project title
Kinetic modelling of plasma-enhanced CO2 methanation
Project description
The growth of a new multi-billion-dollar H2 export industry is a huge opportunity for Australia. H2 uptake is heavily reliant on transportation and storage. Blending H2 into existing gas pipelines is a potential pathway, but most existing pipeline infrastructure is not suited to carry more than 15% H2 without requiring adaptation of end-user appliances. If H2 is converted to methane, existing pipelines and LNG (liquefied natural gas) transport infrastructure can be used. CSIRO is developing a novel plasma-catalysis process that can convert H2 and CO2 into high-concentration green methane at ambient conditions. The approach promises to produce a disruptive technology for H2 storage and transport, significantly reducing the cost of H2 deployment.
The PhD project aims to develop a chemical kinetic model of the plasma-catalysis process for CO2 methanation. The model will incorporate detailed reaction data for gas-phase and surface chemistry, including reactions between plasma species such as excited molecules, radicals, and electrons. The model will identify the dominant reaction pathways and rate-limiting steps, guiding efforts to optimise the process. The research promises to have a significant scientific impact since plasma catalysis is currently a ‘hot’ research topic, and the visibility of its application to CO2 methanation is rapidly growing.
Primary location of student
CSIRO Lindfield (Sydney)
Other potential locations
University of Sydney and CSIRO Clayton (Melbourne)
Industry engagement component location
Partly remote, with opportunity to visit GrapheneX’s offices in different states and site visits to relevant commercial, pilot and R&D facilities.
Ideal student skillset
Patrick Cullen
School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering