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PhD Studentship supported by the EU Horizon 2020 ABC-Salt research project (3 years)

Aston University - European Bioenergy Research Institute

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,777 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 8th August 2018
Closes: 31st August 2018

Production of biofuels from various lignocellulosic waste streams by liquefaction and hydro-pyrolysis

Applications are invited for a three year PhD studentship, supported by the EU Horizon 2020 research project “ABC-Salt – Advanced biomass catalytic conversion to middle distillates in molten salts”, to be undertaken within the European Bioenergy Research Institute at Aston University under the supervision of Dr Daniel Nowakowski. The studentship is offered in close collaboration with academic and industrial partners from EU working together within the ABC-Salt research platform ( This PhD also offers an excellent opportunity to develop engineering and academic skills throughout the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) Doctoral Training Programme (

The position is available to start in October 2018, January 2019, April 2019 or July 2019.

Financial Support

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the Home/EU fees rate, plus a maintenance allowance of £14,777 in 2018/19.

Overseas Applicants

Applicants from outside the EU may apply for this studentship, but will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home/EU’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees, currently this is £12,290 in 2018/19. As part of the application you will be required to confirm that you have secured this additional funding.

Background to the Project

New, sustainable, transport fuel production technologies are key in lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The EU has set ambitious objectives and the development of innovative technologies to sustainable and cost efficient validated laboratory scale processes must provide answers to these challenges. ABC-Salt project will validate at laboratory scale a novel route to produce sustainable liquid biofuels (middle distillates) from various lignocellulosic waste streams for the transport industry. The PhD research will particularly focus on thermochemical properties of feedstock for liquefaction and hydro-pyrolysis in molten salts with subsequent hydro-deoxygenation studies as well as on full characterisation of products.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have a first class or upper second class honours degree in Chemical Engineering. Preferred skill requirements include knowledge and experience of: (i) biomass characterisation, (ii) biomass processing by liquefaction or (hydro)pyrolysis, (iii) analytical techniques such as GC-MS, TGA, FTIR. This project involves a close collaboration with industrial partners across the EU therefore some industrial experience will be desirable for this PhD studentship.

We would particularly like to encourage applications from women seeking to progress their academic careers. Aston University is committed to the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter, recognised recently by a prestigious Silver Award to EAS, and we pride ourselves on our vibrant, friendly and supportive working environment and family atmosphere.

Contact information

For formal enquiries about this postgraduate studentship contact Dr Daniel Nowakowski by email at

If you require further information about the application process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team at

Submitting an application

The online application form, reference forms and details of entry requirements, including English language are available here.

Applications must also be accompanied by a research proposal giving an overview of the main themes of the research as detailed in the Background to the Project section above. This should demonstrate your understanding of the research area and how your knowledge and experience will benefit the project.

Closing Date: 31st August 2018

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