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Development of an innovative techno-economic model for European biorefineries producing biofuels and chemicals

Aston University - School of Engineering and Applied Science

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £14,777 maintenance allowance plus covered home/EU fees rate
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 14th September 2018
Closes: 31st October 2018

PhD Studentship (3 years)

Applications are invited for a three-year Postgraduate studentship, supported by the School of Engineering and Applied Science, to be undertaken within the Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and the European Bioenergy Research Institute at Aston University.  The successful applicant will join an established research group working on bioenergy. The project will be supervised by Dr Katie Chong with co-supervision by Prof. Tony Bridgwater.

The position is available to start January, April 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 applied for, or, secured this additional funding.

Background of the Project

Finding the most efficient way to process biomass is becoming increasingly important as competition for feedstocks increases due to the development of the bio-based industry within Europe. Biomass offers the only renewable route for producing fuels and chemicals, as there is no other source of renewable carbon. Biomass consists of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin which may be processed into chemicals, fuels and/or energy within an integrated process scheme called a biorefinery. The aim of the project is to develop a comprehensive techno-economic model in order to identify the optimum stage for fractionation of biomass within a biorefinery. The processes may be chemical, biochemical or thermochemical, or a combination of these. Due to concerns over climate change, there has been significant research effort on the processing of biomass into value-added products, and this project will help to integrate this effort.

A solution to this challenge would be particularly useful to help guide future research direction and to provide valuable information about scale-up and biorefinery feasibility. There is the requirement to make biorefineries more cost-competitive in order to encourage industrial development. The finished model will be aimed at non-specialist users to make it more accessible to the broader research community. It will aid the economic success and development of the biorefinery industry.

The student will be part of the Energy Research Accelerator Doctoral Training Partnership.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have a first class or upper second class honours degree or equivalent qualification in Chemical Engineering. Preferred skill requirements include knowledge/experience of process modelling, process design and core chemical engineering operations.

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.

For informal enquiries about this project contact Dr Katie Chong.

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

Applications must be accompanied by a research proposal giving an overview of the main themes of the research, and explaining how your knowledge and experience will benefit the project.

Closing Date: 31st October 2018

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