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This topic aims to contribute to the development of innovative hydrogen storage materials as sustainable energy sources to help achieve climate neutrality in both the energy and transport sectors. The project uses renewable natural resources (biomass) and solid mineral waste as raw materials to develop a sorbent material for hydrogen storage.

Research field: Chemical, materials and energy technology
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Alar Konist
Dr. Oliver Järvik
Availability: This position is available.
Offered by: School of Engineering
Department of Energy Technology
Application deadline:Applications are accepted between June 01, 2022 00:00 and June 30, 2022 23:59 (Europe/Zurich)


Progress in knowledge and values has led humanity to realize the unsustainability of the current model of economy, which is largely based on the consumption of resources and energy. This consumption is directly related to the higher standard of living; however, this well-being is sustainable only through decarbonizing energy systems. It means applying CO2 capture and utilization, increasing biomass, wind and solar power use, and hydrogen (H2) production. While there are a number of options for decarbonization, H2 as an energy carrier (fuel) “offers a versatile, clean, and flexible energy vector for this transition”. H2 could be one of the cleanest energies with potential to have zero carbon emission. Therefore, H2 has an important role in future transportation, energy, and industry sectors. To consider H2 as fuel for balancing the energy grid, there must be production and storage facilities. While green H2 production and fuel cell technologies are technically ready, there are still obstacles hindering its widespread use.

Promising attempts have been made to solve the problem of storing H2 in carbon materials due to their high volumetric and gravimetric capacity, and good H2 storage performance.

A cost-effective approach are zeolites which could be synthesized from waste sources such as coal fly ash or oil shale ash. The obtained fly ash derived zeolite has an estimated cost of one-fifth of that of existing commercial zeolites and could be effectively used as hard template material for obtaining microporous carbon with the surface area of 1112 m2/g, and H2 uptake capacity of 1.2 wt% (at 77 K and 1 bar).

The project will extend the knowledge gained from the PSG project “Effects of activation conditions on the preparation of porous carbon from oil shale” (PSG266) by developing a method for preparing H2 storage material (adsorbent) using materials and methods studied in the PSG project.

In principle, the project will study the production of a suitable template material (either semi-coke or oil shale ash) with excellent properties for H2 storage.

For the analytical research equipment available in the laboratories of the Department of Energy Technology will be used. I.e:


Responsibilities and (foreseen) tasks

  • Prepare a research plan with the help of the supervisor and carry out research according to the plan.
  • Conduct necessary laboratory experiments.
  • The PhD student will work closely with collaborators from TalTech and abroad (e.g. USA) and will be expected to participate in relevant national and international conferences, and develop journal papers within the research field.


Applicants should fulfil the following requirements:

  • A master’s degree in thermal, chemical or mechanical engineering
  • Good speaking and writing English.
  • a clear interest in the topic of the position
  • strong and demonstrable writing and analytical skills
  • capacity to work both as an independent researcher and as part of an international team
  • capacity and willingness to provide assistance in organizational tasks relevant to the project


The following experience is beneficial:

  • Knowing SimaPro
  • Practical experience with TGA analysis
  • Previous participation in research projects