HDR Scholarship - Asymmetric carbon molecular sieves for CO2 capture from the atmosphere

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Asymmetric carbon molecular sieves for CO2 capture from the atmosphere'.

Project Supervisor

Associate Supervisors


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

The combustion of fossil fuels releases close to 40 billion tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere every year, leading to adverse climatic change and ocean acidification. Electrocatalytic conversion provides a potential solution to this problem, where the greenhouse gas is converted into valuable products, such as methanol, formic acid, methane and ethanol. Direct conversion from the atmosphere, in particular, is a highly promising approach for tackling emissions from distributed sources and reduce the concentration from the atmosphere.

However, due to the low concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere (~ 400 ppm), direct conversion without pre-concentrating the feed gas is challenging. Currently leading technologies rely on solid adsorption or solvent absorption to pre-concentrate the gas, which requires high energy input (30 to 400 kJ/TCO2) during the regeneration to recover the captured CO2, thus making the process unscalable.

Project aim

This project seeks to develop novel asymmetric CMS membranes with capacity to efficiently capture CO2 from the atmosphere, while also providing hosting sites for sub-nanometre scale electrocatalysts, for CO2 conversion. The student’s task will include; (i) investigating the link between the physicochemical properties of polymer precursors and the pore size distribution, (ii) tuning the pore structures such that one side of the CMS membrane is optimized for CO2 capture, while the other side will have relatively larger pores to allow for modification with the electrocatalytic nano-catalysts, (iii) investigating the correlation between pore size distribution and the CO2 capture efficiency from the atmosphere.

Important dates

Applications will remain open until a candidate has been appointed.


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $28,092 per annum tax exempt (2020 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate or overseas
  • International students only:  Tuition fees offset for the duration of 4 years. Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

How to apply

Prospective candidates should contact Dr James Maina at j.maina@deakin.edu.au for further information.

find out more

Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Dr James Maina

Dr James Maina
Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Email James Maina
+61 3 522 73734