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Research and Development of the Ammonia Combustion Engines

Applications are invited for one full-time PhD Studentship in the Centre for Advanced Powertrain and Fuels in the College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences, Brunel University London for the project titled “Research and Development of the Ammonia Combustion Engines”. The PhD studentship is for a period of three years (36 months) effective 1st of October 2022. The successful applicant will receive an annual stipend (bursary) of £18,062 plus payment of their full-time home tuition fees.

The project is aimed to understand the key combustion characteristics of ammonia, a zero-carbon fuel, in order to enable marine vessels to employ ammonia as a propulsion fuel source. The main focus of the research is to answer fundamental questions on the ammonia injection process and carry out engine experiments on the ammonia combustion using different combustion strategies in both a single cylinder optical engine and a thermodynamic testing engine.

Applicants should submit the documents below to be considered for a research project “Research and Development of Ammonia Combustion Engines”. Informal enquires may be addressed to Professor Hua Zhao via email to hua.zhao@brunel.ac.uk


Applicants will have or be expected to receive a minimum 2:1 or 1st class degree in mechanical engineering or a related discipline. A Masters qualification is an advantage but not essential. Good knowledge and understanding of thermodynamics and combustion. Practical experience with the operation of internal combustion engines.

How to apply

Please e-mail all the documents listed below as a single PDF file to

cedps-pgr-office@brunel.ac.uk by Noon on 30 May 2022:

  • Your up-to-date CV;
  • A research statement of 500-1,000 words setting out your project ideas
  • A one A4 page personal statement setting out why you are a suitable candidate (i.e.: your skills and experience);
  • A copy of your degree certificate(s) and transcript (s);
  • Names and contact details for two academic referees;
  • Evidence of English language capability to IELTS 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all sections), if applicable

Please, remember to put the project title in the subject of your email.


Interviews will take place during June 2022

Meet the Supervisor(s)

Hua Zhao - Academic Responsibilities Vice-Provost  and Dean,  College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences Former Vice Dean Research, College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences Director, Centre for Advanced Powertrain and Fuels (CAPF) Former Head of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Former Course directors for BEng/MEng Degrees in Motorsport Engineering, MSc in Automotive and Motorsport Engineering Former faculty advisor for Brunel Formula Student and Brunel Master Racing teams Academic Qualification and Honours BEng, Tianjin University, China. PhD, Leeds University, UK. FIMechE, Fellow of Institution of Mechanical Engineers (UK). DSc, Brunel University London. FSAE, Fellow of Society of Automotive Engineers  (US) FREng, Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering  Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering  Academic Career College Research Fellow,  Cambridge University, 1989-1992. Research Fellow, Imperial College of London, 1992-1994. Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, Brunel University London, 1994-2001. Professor, Brunel University London, 2002-now.

Related Research Group(s)

Advanced Powertrain and Fuels

Advanced Powertrain and Fuels - We have particular strengths in improving the efficiency and reducing energy cost of existing engines through developing low temperature combustion processes and their controls and regenerative braking, as well as unique methodologies for the study of fuels and engines.