Fully funded PhD: Evaluating the role of hydrogen fuel at airports as part of their transition to net zero

  • DeadlineDeadline: 4 July 2024
  • North West, All EnglandNorth West, All England


Hydrogen fuel is expected to play an important role in the decarbonisation of global aviation, with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from many airport activities and flights.

However, there are significant challenges, including requirements for new business models and collaborations, differently skilled workers, revised safety cases and procedures, new fuel and power supplies for airports, and new airport infrastructure.

Some research exists and there are several pilot demonstrations of hydrogen fuel use at airports around the world. However, knowledge and tools for assessing the potential and benefits of hydrogen fuel use in various scenarios at airports is under-developed.

This project will provide new insights and increase our understanding of these challenges, in particular in relation to new fuel supplies and new airport infrastructure, developing methods to assess the various opportunities, and how best to overcome barriers to the changes needed to shift to hydrogen-based solutions.

This studentship is a collaboration with Manchester Airports Group (MAG), and will use Manchester Airport, UK as a case study to apply and further develop the research.


The objectives of the studentship are to:

  • Understand the opportunities (scenarios) and barriers for hydrogen fuel use at airports in the context of reducing an airport operator’s scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Develop criteria/methods/tools to assess each scenario - establish appropriate impact criteria for assessment (e.g. practicality, agency of airport operator, greenhouse gas emissions, cost, sustainability, viability, and safety).
  • Evaluate scenarios in line with methods/criteria/tools produced above.
  • Determine the requirements for new supply chains, collaborations, airport infrastructure and operational procedures.
  • Map scenarios onto a pathway and timeline towards transitioning to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Manchester Airport, UK will be used as a case study to validate research outcomes (with relevance to objectives 4 and 5).

Entry Requirements


  • First or upper second class BSc honours degree in a relevant subject such as environmental science or environmental management.
  • Experience of collecting or handling qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office, including Microsoft Excel.


  • MSc in a relevant subject.
  • Evidence of engagement in research activities such as managing a research project, publishing journal articles, conference presentations.
  • Evidence of an interest in the subject of the studentship.


This is a full-time, funded PhD opportunity in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. It is open to Home students only. 

This opportunity provides an annual stipend of the research council minimum rate (set by UKRI) of £19,237 for 2024/25.

How To Apply

To apply you will need to complete the online application form for a full-time PhD in Environmental Sciences (or download the PGR application form).

You should also complete the (PGR thesis proposal /Narrative CV) form addressing the project’s aims and objectives, demonstrating how the skills you have maps to the area of research and why you see this area as being of importance and interest. 

If applying online, you will need to upload your statement in the supporting documents section, or email the application form and statement to PGRAdmissions@mmu.ac.uk.

Interested applicants should contact Dr Christopher Paling (c.paling@mmu.ac.uk) for an informal discussion.

If applying online, you must upload your statement in the supporting documents section or email the application form and statement to PGRAdmissions@mmu.ac.uk

Closing date: 4 July 2024. The expected start date is October 2024.

Please quote the reference: SciEng-SC-2024-Hydrogen-Fuel

Who is eligible to apply?

Home students

Manchester Metropolitan University Campus

Where is Manchester Metropolitan University?