PhD Studentship in Feasibility of Hydrogen as a marine fuel University of Southampton, Education Hub (Engineering & the Env) United Kingdom

PhD Studentship: Feasibility of Hydrogen as a marine fuel

Education Hub (Engineering & the Env)

Location: Highfield Campus

Closing Date: Thursday 31 May 2018

Reference: 987718MM

International shipping contributes ~ 3.1% of global GHG emissions, which without change may increase to 18% by 2050. Studies show that Zero-emission vessels need to be entering service by 2030 in order for shipping to achieve an absolute emissions reduction of 50% by 2050, consistent with a 2o climate change scenario.


Hydrogen has been identified as a potential ‘zero emission’ fuel for global shipping, either in a fuel cell or in an internal combustion engine. Overall, it is not currently clear what the most viable zero-emissions fuel is from a technical and commercial perspective and this may change with vessel type and operational/economic scenario. One of the key reasons for this present uncertainty is the lack of clear understanding as to the most efficient means to produce Hydrogen and to store Hydrogen onboard ships.

This project will investigate the feasibility of alternative onboard Hydrogen storage solutions for commercial ships. The feasibility will be assessed in terms of both technical and economic considerations.


To address the technical solutions to onboard Hydrogen storage, both compressed and cryogenic liquefied storage options will be addressed. For large volumes of Hydrogen the most promising option is cryogenic liquefied storage, yet this presents unique technical challenges. The understanding of modern containment materials at temperatures of 20K is poor. The impact of ship motions on the behaviour of the liquid, as well as the effect of the liquid sloshing in tanks at such low temperatures, is also poorly understood. Understanding the properties of containment materials is critical to the selection of the most appropriate and will form part of the technical studies, together with the effect of motions on ‘boil off’.


To understand the economics of Hydrogen storage onboard a vessel, a suitable model of ship performance needs to be developed to predict power requirements in realistic operational conditions for different ship sizes, speeds and routes. The understanding gained in the technical analysis of containment materials and motions – to predict ‘boil off’ accurately – is crucial to understanding required volumes and vessel speeds in practice. Developing a model of vessel economics allows trade-offs between ship speed, Hydrogen storage capacity, cargo revenue generating potential and vessel re-fuelling (bunkering) options to be studied.

The University of Southampton provides a unique combination of access to exciting experimental facilities associated with Cryogenic testing of materials, allied to expertise in ship design and performance modelling.


You will be a highly motivated individual, who is excited about answering fundamental research questions alongside delivering research that has a real impact for industry. You should have – or be expected to obtain - a first class degree or equivalent in mechanical engineering, ship science, aerospace, physics or mathematics. You should be confident with materials testing and mathematical modelling and be prepared to conduct both numerical and experimental investigations.


If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Prof. Dominic Hudson, FSI research group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 2306.


Apply online here:

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