Women in hydrogen

Women in Hydrogen2 740x300

Inspired by #womeninhydrogen we wanted to promote our women in hydrogen.

Learn more about some of our female students: 

CourtneyQuinn2120x150

Courtney Quinn

The part that I enjoy most about my PhD is that I’m always learning something new! I also love the practical aspect of my project and I’m really enjoying the synthesis aspect. 

 

 

 

PhD research project 
Sustainable hydrogen evolution catalysts
 
Why did you choose to join the CDT?

I studied chemical engineering at Queen’s University Belfast and was lucky enough to get a summer placement with QUILL (Queen’s University Ionic Liquid Laboratories) which made me realise how much I enjoyed research and that I wanted to do a PhD in alternative energies.

The project involved working on catalyst for the synthesis of biofuel additives and I found that I really enjoyed synthesising and understanding catalysts. I was on the integrated masters pathway so after my third year I went on placement to a large pharmaceutical company where I had time to seriously think about my future. I already knew I wanted to do a PhD so I decided to apply for PhDs in green technologies. 

I found the sustainable hydrogen CDT and was really excited by the range of projects and the attitude towards different backgrounds, so I applied. The interview I had with the CDT was really different from any of the other PhD interviews I had done, and I really liked the attitude, so I gladly accepted the offer! About a month after my first interview, I was invited to visit the University of Nottingham to meet the supervisors of the two projects I was most interested in and ended up sticking with my first choice because I really liked project!

 

 

 

 

 
What is it like to be a student in the CDT?
I really enjoy being part of the CDT because it’s almost like having a second research group so double the opportunities. Within the CDT we have opportunities to be social together but also opportunities to learn new skills and to meet new people. The CDT organises events such as workshops, stakeholder engagement sessions and EDI sessions so there is always something to be involved in. 

 

 

 

 

 
Tell us about your PhD and what you enjoy most about it

 

 

The goal of my PhD project is to investigate sustainable catalysts for the production of hydrogen by electrolysis. As we move towards net zero there is a need for increased capacity to produce green hydrogen but unless we use catalysts which are sustainable and efficient then we are at risk of causing further damage. My work aims to develop electrocatalysts which are not only efficient and stable but also which do minimal damage to the environment from extraction to disposal.

The part that I enjoy most about my PhD is that I’m always learning something new! I also love the practical aspect of my project and I’m really enjoying the synthesis aspect. My research group is based in the CNL building on Jubilee Campus which is just a fantastic facility to be working in considering the building itself was designed with sustainability in mind!

 
Describe the opportunities you have as a group to interact and support each other?

 

In my first year (20/21) it was difficult due to COVID as everything had to be online but now that we can travel it is getting much easier! In first year, we had lots of Teams calls for helping each other with the taught modules, workshops and for social events. As the modules are so varied it was really useful to chat to other people in the CDT as our areas of expertise are also varied and people were always happy to help chat things over! Teams has been really useful for other social events like quizzes but since September we’ve had a few in person events like the CDT picnic and stakeholder event.  

 

 

 
Overall what are the best things about being a SusHy student?
By far the best part of the CDT is the people! The students have all come from different backgrounds but we have a great sense of community despite being online the whole of my first year! Moving somewhere new by yourself in a pandemic isn’t easy but everyone was really supportive of each other which was really helpful.
 
What advantages have you found at being part of a CDT that spans four universities? 
Since September 2021 we have been able to have in person events which has meant that we have gotten to see other universities and facilities that we otherwise wouldn’t have. The range of universities gives rise to a range of projects and so a range of people which I really enjoy. I really enjoy being able to hear about a whole range of projects which are all linked by sustainable hydrogen and I don’t think we would get the same range from just one university.

 

 

 

 

 

Mina120X150

Mina Kazemi

The CDT is great as I have been able to meet some of the best academics delivering interdisciplinary science, engineering, economics and politics in terms of hydrogen energy. I also lilke interacting with different students from different fields and nationalities which is enjoyable

 

 
PhD research project:
Prevention and mitigation of accidents with hydrogen-powered vehicles in confined spaces
 
Why did you choose to join the CDT? 

I decided to apply to the CDT because their goal was to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by improving feasible methods and strategies to facilitate the growth in renewable hydrogen energy and storage. I had not been a student at any of the partner universities before,however, after looking online about this research field I found the Sustainable Hydrogen CDT and that helped me decide to be part of the team and play a role in hydrogen fire safety research.

 
What is it like to be a student in the CDT?
On becoming a student here it is really helpful to have a proper understanding of the fundamental principles in mathematics, physics as well as economics. Then, they will gain a better understanding of all aspects involved in the transition of hydrogen technologies to the energy system such as societal, economical, scientific and political aspects, which are linked to each other in order to deliver hydrogen technologies helping to transition to low carbon economy. 
 
Tell us about your PhD and what you enjoy most about it 
By and large, I am working on hydrogen fire safety strategies at the moment. To be more specific, I am mostly interested in Computation Fluid Dynamics (CFD) including the numerical simulation of hydrogen jet fire in order to study nozzle design. CFD extremely reduces the cost of full or small scale experiments.  
 
Describe the opportunities you have as a group to interact and support each other? 
In my team, we always interact with each other. We support each other doing tasks and help each other perform CFD simulations for a specific problem. Furthermore, each member, is completing a part of the project in order to deliver the whole project properly, so everyone know their responsibilities and as a result it all runs very nicely, whether meeting deadlines or catching up with reports and articles. 
 
What advice would you give to other students looking at joining the CDT?
I advise them to learn basic principles in terms of scientific, economic, social and political aspects during the first year by participating in the course modules. During the time working on the thesis, students need to keep everything on the schedule in order to meet the deadlines regarding progress reports, conferences as well journal papers. I would say they need to participate in conferences and meeting as much as they can in order to keep their pace with other students and keep themselves updated from leading-edge researchers.
 
Overall what are the best things about being a SusHy student?
Feeling supported by academics in terms of research and pastoral support, as well as gaining a deep multidisciplinary understanding of a wide range of areas (economic, political, scientific) while conducting state-of the-art research under the supervision of academics who are leaders in their field. 
 
As an international student, how did you find the process of joining the CDT?
It was not hard for me as I started to find opportunities associated with my research interests online, I became familiar with the hydrogen safety team at Ulster University, one of the CDT partner universities as their research helps improve and gain the peoples trust in the safety of hydrogen technologies. After I contacted the team, they arranged a meeting for interview. I felt so comfortable and happy during the meeting with the professors and I am so glad that I was offered a place to be a member of the team.
 
What advantages have you found at being part of a CDT that spans four universities?
The CDT is great as I have been able to meet some of the best academics delivering interdisciplinary science, engineering, economics and politics in terms of hydrogen energy. I also lilke interacting with different students from different fields as well as different nationalities which is enjoyable and supportive.  
 

 

 

 

Zoe120X150

Zoe Pallis

Having worked in an office environment before starting my PhD, I have to say the thing I enjoy the most about it is the freedom. We are given space and time to develop our own approaches and paths towards answering our research question, with the support of supervisors and fellow students.

 

 

PhD research project 

Public values for a hydrogen energy system

 
Why did you choose to join the CDT? 
During my MSc, I made contact with an academic at the university who was conducting research in my area. I met with her to discuss possible next steps, and she recommended I apply for a project she was supervising in the SusHy CDT.
 
What is it like to be a student in the CDT? 

I would recommend a CDT to students who are interested in broadening their knowledge and understanding beyond that of just their specific project – being in a CDT allows you to consider the interdisciplinary reach and relevance of your research; to meet people who are working on different pieces of the same puzzle, who challenge you to consider new angles and approaches.

 

 
Tell us about your PhD and what you enjoy most about it
Having worked full-time in an office environment for many years before starting my PhD, I have to say that the thing I enjoy the most about it is the freedom. We are given space and time to develop our own approaches and paths towards answering our research question, with the support of supervisors and fellow students.
 
Describe the opportunities you have as a group to interact and support each other? 
During our first year, much of the cohort pulled together and supported one another through the taught modules, which I really appreciated.  
 
What advice would you give to other students looking at joining the CDT?
Consider what you want from your PhD experience. If you just want to get your head down and work ardently on one very specific research area, a CDT might not be the right place for you. But if you’re more open to learning around your topic as well as in it, consider a CDT. 
 
Overall what are the best things about being a SusHy student? 
I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to work with students from all around the country and world, across a range of disciplines. I’ve also found a comradery of shared experience which comes from being part of the CDT, which others I know studying on ‘regular’ PhDs have not benefitted from. PhDs can be an isolating experience, and being part of a ‘cohort’ has helped to counteract this.  
 
 What advantages have you found at being part of a CDT that spans four universities?
Honestly, other than meeting some nice students at the other universities, I haven’t.
 
What do you hope to do in the future?
I’m currently conducting my PhD research part-time, whilst working part-time at a fuel poverty and climate change charity. For me, this balance of theoretical and practical works really well – so I’d like to continue this for as long as it feels productive. Post-PhD, I’m open and excited as to where my career may take me.
 

 

 

 

 

Ruth Atkinson120x150

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth Atkinson

University of Nottingham (started 2021)

Research Project: Designing efficient charge-transfer metal-semiconductors heterojunctions for hydrogen generation.

Project assesses metal-semiconductor combinations for suitability as photocatalysts for generation of hydrogen from water. Materials based on Nb semiconductors with metals such as Co, Cu, Ni or Mo will be explored. They will be synthesised, characterized and tested for generation of hydrogen from water.

BADGE_SusHy_CDT_120x150

Antonia Dase     

University of Nottingham (started 2020)

Research ProjectDehydrogenation catalysis of mixed metal borohydride ammoniates.

Developing novel catalysts for dehydrogenation of mixed metal borohydride ammoniates; and seeking to elucidate the mechanisms involved, in order to improve reaction conditions and selectivity.

 

 

 

 

Mickella Dawkins120x150

Mickella Dawkins

Loughborough University (started 2019)

Research Project: Hydrogen enrichment of natural gas by thermo-catalytic decomposition of methane.

The gas network currently supplies natural gas to consumers but could instead supply gases, such as hydrogen, in the future.Thermo-catalytic decomposition of methane allows enrichment of natural gas with hydrogen, a carbon-free fuel. Research is focused on the development of this technology and the incorporation of wind energy.

Cheryl Duke120x150

Cheryl Duke

University of Nottingham (started 2021)

Research Project: Quantifying environmental and resource impacts of the future UK hydrogen fuelled vehicle fleet.

This project develops novel LCA models to assess the resource and environmental implications of deploying hydrogen fuelled vehicles in the UK’s light and heavy duty road fleets. It will consider the current and future mix of hydrogen production routes, vehicle manufacture, use and end-of-life vehicle management.

 

 

BADGE_SusHy_CDT_120x150

Una O'Hara

University of Birmingham (started 2020)

Research Project: Development of high-performance complex hydrides.

This project is investigating boron-based and nitrogen-based complex hydrides, which will be synthesized by chemical and mechanochemical routes (or sourced); and their hydrogen storage, electrical and thermal properties will be assessed in detail.

 

 

Katarina Pegg120x150

Katarina Pegg

University of Birmingham (started 2021)

Research Project: The role of green hydrogen in the West Midlands Combined Authority local energy system.

Green hydrogen production from weather dependent low-carbon generation is a growth area signposted in the Committee on Climate Change’s 6th Carbon Budget. This research will focus on advantages and disadvantages of  local level green hydrogen generation, specifically in West Midlands Combined Authority area. 

 

 

Our female supervisors

Monica Guiletti

Prof. Monica Giulietti

Professor of Microeconomics

 

 

 

 

 Course studied?
 BA in Economics and Politics, MSc and PhD in Economics
 
 Tell us how you ended up where you are today?
 I completed my doctoral studies in Economics at the University of Warwick in 1995 and have worked in Economics Departments and Business Schools across the UK enjoying the intellectual challenges of working in multidisciplinary environments. Before joining Loughborough as a Professor in Microeconomics in 2015. I have worked at the Universities of Warwick, Nottingham, Aston and Exeter.
 
 What are you doing now?
 My current research work looks at development of local energy markets and communities. This is done via surveys of energy consumers and prosumers. I am also looking at data on energy consumption and prices to assess the distributional impact of energy policy interventions. 
 
 Do you have an area of research expertise?
 Throughout my academic career I have investigated a wide range of issues relating to energy consumption and energy markets, including competition and regulation in wholesale and retail energy markets, decentralised energy production and storage, energy consumers’ and prosumers’ behaviour and energy poverty, often in productive collaborations with current and past PhD students.
 
 Who are your hydorgen heroes?
 I don’t know enough about hydrogen to have identified my heroes. A couple of bright and caring economists however have helped me understand our potential role in the energy transition: Catherine Wolfram (https://haas.berkeley.edu/faculty/wolfram-catherine/) and Michael Greenstone (https://epic.uchicago.edu/people/michael-greenstone/) 
 
 What are the best things about working in the world of hydrogen?
 Being able to learn about the exciting progress in technology and science which can help develop a successful energy transition
 
 What do you hope to do in the future?
 I hope to use my academic expertise to inform the difficult policy and commercial decisions which can help achieve critical environmental targets.
 
 Do you have any general interests?
 In the little time that teaching and research leave I enjoy swimming, reading and learning foreign languages.
 

 

 

 

Sile Brennan120x150

Dr. Sile Brennan

Reader 

 
 Course studied?
 BE in Mechanical Engineering in University College Dublin, followed by a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast
 
 Tell us how you ended up where you are today?
 I enjoyed my final year undergraduate project which was my first real experience of research and involved the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to understand the airflow in container trucks. The project led me to consider postgraduate study and I applied for a PhD using CFD to model the fluid behaviour in race car airboxes. After a brief period working on space applications as a CFD development engineer in industry I joined Ulster University as a researcher in the HySAFER team. 
 
 What are you doing now?
 I am Reader at Ulster, my role involves a combination of research and teaching. My research interests are in hydrogen safety, and specifically the understanding of releases and fires. I coordinate the HyResponder project, a European “train the trainer” programme in hydrogen safety for responders. At Ulster I teach across several engineering courses and particularly enjoy teaching fluid mechanics. 
 
 Do you have an area of research expertise?
 Hydrogen releases and fires. 
 
 What are the best things about working in the world of hydrogen?
 It’s a challenging but rewarding area with many opportunities.
 
 Do you have any general interests?
 Long distance running
 
 

 

Sandie Dann120x150

Prof. Sandie Dann

Professsor of Materials Chemistry

 

 
 Course studied?
BSc Chemistry and PhD in Materials Chemistry at University of Southampton. PhD involved using high pressure oxygen at up to 800 bar and up to 800°C to access unusual oxidation states of the late transition metals. I gained a lot of experience in techniques X-ray diffraction, Electron Microscopy, thermal analysis and spent a lot of time at central facilities (doing Neutron Diffraction and EXAFS) and collaborated with colleagues in Liverpool (Mossbauer Spectroscopy) and Durham (SSNMR).
 
 Tell us how you ended up where you are today?
I stayed at the University of Southampton for a further 3 years to do a postdoctoral position for 3 years where I designed and built a high pressure hydrothermal rig (2Kbar, up to 800°C) and learnt to weld gold, cone and thread high pressure tubing and seal glass ampoules.  Then I took up a lectureship at Loughborough in 1997 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2000. Following various roles and responsibilities including 4 years as Associate Dean for Teaching, I was promoted to Chair in 2019. Throughout my different roles I have felt the public understanding of science was important and presented at too-many-to-count science fairs and festivals.  I have had a variety of projects and foci during my career leading me to work with a many different industrial and academic collaborators.
 
 What are you doing now?
I am currently PI on a mini-CDT with 7 other academics and 7 students on Sustainable Low Dimensional Catalysis (SLowCat) and supervise students that are involved in regenerating materials form waste.  The production of hydrogen is one of the target species. We have recently been accepted at the Royal Society Exhibition for 07/22. 
 
 Do you have an area of research expertise?
I am primarily a materials chemist and my research expertise is in preparing and characterising solid state materials with a mixture of short range and long range techniques.  This means I apply my expertise to linking structure to properties in many different types of material rather than concentrating on a single application. In my career I have worked on many different materials from pigments to catalysts, from pharmaceuticals to hydrogen generation materials.
 
 Who are your hydorgen heroes?
While Cavendish and Lavoisier respectively identified and named hydrogen, for me the hydrogen heroes are those that first moved forward the idea of the fuel cell. Schoenbein in 1838 discovered that hydrogen and oxygen could be combined to give an electrical current and generate only water as a byproduct. Grove, a wealthy judge and scientist, then took this finding and made it practical by inventing the ‘gas battery’ in 1845. Without these discoveries, the fuel cell wouldn’t exist.
 
 What are the best things about working in the world of hydrogen?
Clean and sustainable energy production is a global problem that needs to be solved now for the sake of every living thing on the planet.  Hydrogen generation and fuel cells are exciting, fast-moving areas of research which are set to be game changers in making the ideal a reality.
 
 What do you hope to do in the future?
Continue to use my materials background to solve problems in projects that I find interesting.
 
 Do you have any general interests?
I have a number of pets (cats, dogs and ducks) that keep my husband and I busy outside of our day jobs.  I enjoy reading and watching detective novels/series and an occasional PS4 game.  I took up fruit and vegetable growing during lockdown, enthusiastically if not terribly successfully!
 
 

 

Carol Eastwick120x150

Prof. Carol Eastwick

Professor of Mechancial Engineering

 
 Course studied?
BEng Mechanical Engineering (Imperial College), PhD Mechanical Engineering (University of Nottingham)
 
 Tell us how you ended up where you are today?
After completing an apprenticeship in the Aerospace industry I decided to move to the Energy industry to understand how we could reduce the environmental impact of energy generation.  Through my career I have combined these experiences to look at both transport and energy systems to improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact, including decarbonising as well as pollutant reduction.
 
 What are you doing now?
My research is on thermofluid systems using modelling and experimental approaches to extend the engineering science and understanding of multi-phase reactive systems.  This allows us to create design rules to reduce the environmental impact from electrical machines, aeroengines or power station boilers.  This research enables industry to deliver new generations of devices that better meet society’s needs with a reducing environmental impact.
 
 Do you have an area of research expertise?
My expertise is in liquid-gas, solid-gas multiphase flow including where reactions are present.  I use this to understand thermal management, combustion and conveyance/delivery systems. 
 
 What are the best things about working in the world of hydrogen?
The potential impact that it has in solving some of our energy and transport challenges we have in reducing/removing environmental impact that arises from society’s desire to have ready energy availability and the ability to travel.
 
 What do you hope to do in the future?

I would love to decarbonise electricity generation and aviation with solutions that also deliver a pollution free answer.

 
 

 

Lynne Macaskie120x150

Prof. Lynne Macaskie

Emeritus Professor of Applied Microbiology

 
 Course studied?
BSc Microbiology PhD Biochemistry
 
  Tell us how you ended up where you are today?

Moved into bioinorganic chemistry (microbes and metals and bioremediation) then nanoscience (catalytic bionanoparticles for environment and green chemistry) and biochemical engineering (integrated processes).Then since 2000 into hydrogen biotechnology and fuel cells. Since 2014 into sustainability and circularity (resources from wastes).

 
 
 What are you doing now?

Writing up large backlog of papers. Supporting colleagues in research bids as CoI. Co Director of CDT in Sustainable hydrogen

 
 Who are your hydorgen heroes?

The man who designed the Hindenberg. Pity he didnt use helium. The guys working on the fusion reactors. Useful stuff helium. 

 
 What are the best things about working in the world of hydrogen?

Being part of tomorrows green energy development

 
 

What do you hope to do in the future?

Stay alive long enough to seen hydrogen energy become a reality before we lose the worlds coastal cities and Bangladesh.

Stay healthy enough to go on a booked trip to Antarctica in 2023 while we still have it. Witness the fjrst Mars mission for which Antarctica is a surrogate (I used to lecture ln Exobiology while it was still ‘fringe’) 

 

Do you have any general interests?

Upcycling and repurposing of waste. My animals… 5 large cats and a dog.

 
 

 

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

Our Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) programme aims to train the next generation of energy leaders so that we can meet the net-zero global challenge and this can only be done successfully if these innovation teams are informed by diverse perspectives.

Find out more