PhD Studentship in renewable fuel production

PhD Studentship on Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI) funded SHIPFUEL-IE (Developing pathways for a sustainable shipping and maritime fuel value chain in Ireland) research project. This PhD position is concerned with the production of renewable fuels and includes for off-shore wind, electrolysis, carbon capture and reaction of carbon with hydrogen to produce electro-fuels.  

Research Centre: Climate, Energy and Marine Centre (MaREI)
School: School of Engineering and Architecture
College: College of Science, Engineering and Food Science
University: University College Cork, Ireland
Contract Type: Fixed Term Whole-Time
Job Type: Research
Salary: €18,500 stipend per annum. Fees are covered by the grant.
Duration and Start Date: As soon as possible but no later than the 1st of September 2023

Informal enquiries can be made in confidence to Prof Jerry D Murphy, Director of the MaREI Centre, Email: ei.ccu@yhprum.yrrej


The successful PhD will be based in the MaREI Centre for energy, climate and marine headquartered in the Environmental Research Institute in University College Cork.  MaREI is a key research centre within UCC’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI), which is an internationally recognised Institute for environmental research dedicated to the understanding and protection of our natural environment and to developing innovative technologies, tools and services to facilitate a transformation to a zero carbon and resource efficient society. The MaREI Centre is a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded research centre headquartered in the ERI and includes 13 other Universities and Third Level Institutes from across Ireland, has 50 industrial partners and has accumulated research funding of over €60m. It combines the expertise of a wide range of research groups and industry partners, with the shared mission of solving the main scientific, technical and socio-economic challenges across the climate, energy and marine spaces.  MaREI is also funded by SEAI, EI, EPA, ERDF, EU, HEA, Marine Institute, DCCAE and IRC, as well as through contributions from our industry partners. Researchers in the MaREI Centre have over 30 years of experience in conducting fundamental and applied research supported by competitively won national and international funding, and commercial contracts with government agencies and industry. MaREI’s strengths lie in the multi-disciplinary nature of its research teams, allowing it to combine insights across areas such as MRE Technologies, Materials & Structures, Observations & Operations, Coastal & Marine Systems, Bioenergy, Energy Policy & Modelling and Renewable Energy Management.

Circular Economy Energy and Environmental Systems (CEEES)

MaREI’s Circular Economy Energy and Environmental Systems (CEEES) Research Group focus on renewable advanced fuel production in circular economy systems and includes for the input of about 20 researchers. The breadth of the work includes for analysis of systems from ocean (offshore wind and seaweed) to conversion (hydrogen, electro-fuels, gaseous and liquid biofuels) to end use (industry, transport fuel).

Detailed laboratory work includes for production of biohydrogen and biomethane from 2nd generation biofuel substrates such as wastes, agricultural residues and lignocellulosic energy crops, and 3rd generation biofuel substrates such as macro-algae (seaweed) and micro-algae. Research covers biological and thermochemical bioenergy pathways. The group investigates a range of digestion applications at lab scale including for innovative technologies such as Power to Gas, demand driven biogas and novel biogas upgrading technologies. Fundamental and applied aspects of biomass gasification, pyrolysis, torrefaction, combustion and methanation are also investigated. Work includes for desktop analyses such as chemical kinetic modelling, process simulation, geographic specific bioresources, Life Cycle Analysis, sustainability analyses and techno-economic studies. The research facilitates the development of roadmaps, which describe how Ireland can initiate a green gas industry, which would contribute to mandatory renewable energy targets for renewable heat and transport fuel.

The CEEES research group is led by Prof Jerry D Murphy (Director of the SFI MaREI Centre and Chair of Civil Engineering) and Dr Archishman Bose (Eli Lilly Lecturer at Process and Chemical Engineering), Dr Richard O’Shea (Lecturer in Decarbonisation of Industry), Dr David Wall (Lecturer in Transportation). 


Developing pathways for a sustainable shipping and maritime fuel value chain in Ireland (SHIPFUEL-IE) is funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) under the National Energy Research Development and Demonstration (RD&D) Funding Programme.

The ShipFuel-IE project will assess a range of potential energy carriers (hydrogen, ammonia, methane, methanol, renewable diesels) produced either from biomass or renewable electricity as fuels for the shipping sector coupled with the infrastructural requirements of Irish ports needed to deliver such low-carbon fuels and vessel technologies (internal combustion engine or fuel cell).


  • First-class honours degree (or equivalent) in civil, environmental, energy, mechanical, chemical engineering and/or biotechnology;
  • Capability of working within a project team to achieve results.
  • Good communication, organisation, and interpersonal skills
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must show evidence of English proficiency (e.g. IELTS minimum 6.5, individual sections 6.0), please check the requirements at:

To Apply

To Apply: Please send (1) your C.V. and (2) 1,000 word perspective on renewable hydrocarbons by email to, ei.ccu@yhprum.yrrej.

Please use the subject line “ShipFuel.ie_applicant first and last name)”.

The deadline for applications is the 30th June 2023.