Ammonia is seen as key to decarbonising long range shipping, as it is zero carbon at point of use, and is easy to store and has high energy density compared to alternatives such as hydrogen and batteries. However, there remain significant challenges in its use in combustion engines due to the potential for poor combustion efficiency and high NOx emissions. University of Brighton is developing a highly efficient, low emissions recuperated split cycle engine (RSCE), supporting industrial partner Dolphin N2, which has the capability of running on zero carbon fuels such as ammonia. The recuperated split cycle engine (RSCE) represents a step change in efficiency at near zero emissions . In a RSCE, the compression and expansion processes occur in different cylinders enabling both cool compression and interstage heat recovery via a recuperator. The cycle has been demonstrated on diesel fuel  but to meet the net zero target, the cycle must also work on a sustainable fuel. However the behaviour of sustainable fuels like ammonia in advanced engine technology such as this is currently not well understood
This project will seek to develop understanding of the performance of split cycle engines using ammonia. Fundamental research is needed to understand the fluid flow and atomisation of the fuel in the unique conditions created by the split cycle engine, and then investigate resulting combustion. The student will use a combination of simulation and experiments to develop the fundamental understanding needed to support development of clean engine technology which will deliver the reliable propulsion needed in a marine environment. Depending on research outcomes, simulation work could involve advanced CFD using an open access platform like OpenFoam, or chemical kinetics modelling using packages like CHEMKIN validated by a range of experiments, potentially including engine test.
This PhD will support work within the MARINH3 project, a 5 year multi university EPSRC programme to investigate the potential to use ammonia to decarbonise maritime applications. The project focuses on three themes: Acceptance (legislation, socio-economic considerations, life cycle), Fundamentals (fuel preparation, combustion, promoter fuels, emissions catalysis) and Applications (novel retro fit engines, alternative cycle engines (including split cycle engine), system efficiency).
- Dong, G., Morgan, R. E., & Heikal, M. R. (2016) Thermodynamic analysis and system design of a novel split cycle engine concept, Energy, vol. 102, pp. 576-585.
- Morgan, R.; Lenartowicz, C., Vogiatzaki, K., Harvey, S., Kennaird, D., Owen, N., Pickett, R. & Atkins, A. The Ultra Low Emissions Potential of the Recuperated Split Cycle Combustion System. In Proceedings of the SAE Technical Paper Series 2019-24-0189; 2019; Vol. 1.