PhD Opportunity – Advanced Measurement of Ortho-Para Conversion and Boil-Off Gas in Liquid Hydrogen

March 17, 2022

An exciting opportunity has opened up at one of our participating universities – The University of Western Australia is seeking PhD applicants to carry out a project focussed on the advanced measurement of ortho-para conversion and boil-off gas in liquid hydrogen. Interested and qualified applicants should contact Dr Saif al Ghafri

Project description:
Liquid hydrogen, on account of its high energy density, is being widely considered as a large- scale energy storage and transportation option. Current hydrogen liquefaction technologies are limited by many interconnected and related challenges, including ortho-para (O-P) hydrogen conversion and boil-off gas handling. The substantial deficiency of LH2-relevant experimental data regarding the catalysed O-P conversion kinetics and boil-off gas (BOG) during liquefaction, LH2 transportation and storage must be addressed if the predictions of thermodynamic models and process simulation tools are to be validated.
This research mimicked the conditions of hydrogen liquefaction and LH2 storage by constructing a laboratory facility and conducting experiments on ortho-para conversion and the effect of heat flux, volume, Boil-Off gas rate and stratification on the BOG. The experimental data sets will enable verification and optimization of the thermodynamic and kinetic models; required to design hydrogen liquefaction and storage systems more efficiently and safely while reducing costs.

Project Goals:
This project focuses on Ortho-Para Conversion and BOG studies. PhD candidate will be part of a larger team and will help in one or more of the following main goals:
• Constructing experimental facility: This include ortho-para conversion reactor with packed-bed catalysts, hydrogen liquefier, LH2 BOG apparatus, instrumentation, safety measures and control.
• Conduct experimental studies: This include catalytic O-P conversion measurements as a function of catalyst loading, particle size and reactor configuration and experimental studies examining the effect of variable parameters on the BOG rate. This will include possible stratification phenomena, studying the effect of different amount of heat ingress on BOG rate and pressure change during self-pressurization, understanding how the BOG rate changes with the width/extent of the stratified region, and correlate the BOG rate with the temperature profile of liquid and vapor phases. Data analysis is key factor in this research, implementing accurate methods of transmitting the information is a key goal of this experiment.
• Modelling approaches: Comparison of resultant data set with ortho-para conversion kinetic models. Additionally, experimental BOG data will be used to validate existing BOG models.
PhD Applicant Eligibility Criteria:
The successful applicant should have B. SC (Hons) M.Sc. or M.Eng in Chemical engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Physics. Some knowledge of experimental and/or theoretical work is desirable. Distinction for a Master degree with significant research component are highly desirable.

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