Martí-Franquès COFUND Fellowship Programme


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Engineering and Architecture

Supervisor name and surname:

Alberto Coronas Salcedo

Supervisor email:

Supervisor short biography

Co-supervisor name and surname:

Joan Carles Bruno Argilaguet / Vanesa Gil

Co-supervisor email: /

Co-supervisor institution:

Universitat Rovira i Virgili / Fundación del Hidrogeno de Aragon

Co-supervisor short biography

PhD programme:

Thermodynamic Fluid Engineering

Title of the research project:

Green Hydrogen Storage using Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHC) in Polygeneration systems serving Smart Energy Grids

Description of the research project:

1. The idea of the project and where it sits within the state-of-the-art
Renewable electricity can replace fossil fuels in many applications but not in all of them such as in certain industrial applications. Moreover, the extensive electrification would require costly grid upgrades and storage solutions. Hydrogen would be an excellent complement to achieve the transition towards a decarbonized economy. Hydrogen obtained using renewable energy sources known as “Clean or Green hydrogen” has the potential to become an important energy carrier in line with the most ambitious decarbonization objectives set by the hydrogen strategy adopted by the European Union Commission in July 2020.
Hydrogen can be used as fuel for power and industrial plants and mobility applications (road vehicles, maritime shipping …), as feedstock in biorefineries, building up bulk chemicals and other alternative sustainable fuels and for short or inter-seasonal energy storage of highly intermittent renewable energies. Moreover, it can be transported and distributed using the existing natural gas networks.
The handling and storage of hydrogen for the transport and distribution networks can be done by compression, liquefaction, absorbed in metal hydrides, liquid organic carriers or ammonia among others. Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHC) are suggested as a promising storage solution thanks to its high-density storage medium in which hydrogen is loaded/unloaded using a catalyzed reversible exothermal/endothermal reaction. LOHC allows to use existing fuel tanks in refueling stations being also non-toxic and hardly flammable.
The full assessment of LOHC application in the highly complex and variable whole hydrogen supply chain usually known as “hydrogen valleys” capturing the synergetic effect of the heat released/absorbed during the storage process has not been performed in detail because of the lack of suitable tools for this challenging task.
2. Objectives of the project
The main objective of the project is the development of technical solutions for the design of optimal cost-competitive configurations and energy management strategies considering the storage/packing/unpacking for the use of green hydrogen. To achieve this objective using a multidisciplinary approach, the following specific objectives will be covered:
• Review and techno-economical comparison of green hydrogen production technologies and hydrogen storage technologies mainly focused on potential (or most promising) LOHC candidates.
• Experimental characterization of suitable LOHC.
• Modelling and validation of power-to-gas technologies to produce hydrogen from photovoltaics.
• Modelling and validation of hydrogen-based gas-to-power technologies including low temperature fuel cells, engines and micro gas turbines.
• Modelling and validation of efficient thermal energy conversion systems for the recovery of waste heat from prime movers and storage systems using heat pumps to produce heating and cooling.
• Design of a superstructure including the generation and conversion units to select, size and operate the most efficient, small footprint, reliable and cost-effective configuration for selected users and applications including the final use of hydrogen as a fuel for power generation or mobility, energy storage, injection into the gas grid or use as feedstock to produce high-value products (methanol, ammonia, synthetic fuels, etc).
• Development of advanced optimization and machine learning strategies to select the best configuration among the developed superstructure in a highly variable constrained problem forecasting the fluctuations mainly due to changes in green hydrogen production, electricity and commodity prices and energy demands.
• Application of the developed platform in real cases covering waste-to-energy applications in the field of municipal and agro-industrial wastes for the implementation of the circular economy principles in the current and future energy scenarios.
The project will have the support of industrial partners and a network of other national and international research groups.

Highly desirable attributes of the ideal candidate

* Demonstrated previous experience in one or more of the following topics: Heat and mass transfer; Chemical Thermodynamics; Renewable Energy technologies; Heat Pumps & Refrigeration Systems;
Chemical Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Energy Conversion Systems and technologies; Hydrogen Storage;
* Language skills: English (B2)
* Specific Software skills: ASPEN; Matlab/Simulink;
* Other skills: Programming and Modelling with Aspen, Matlab and other similar
* Personality traits: Good communication skills
Ethics: This project doesn’t involve ethical aspects

Workplace Location: Campus Sescelades, Tarragona

Gross anual salary:

27103.20 €


Full time

Working hours:

37.5 hours a week

Earliest expected start date:

14 February 2022

European union This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 945413