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PhD Studentship: Biorenewable Chemicals from C1 Gases: Assessing the Technical and Financial Viability of Bioconversion Processes (with Johnson Matthey) ENG1208

University of Nottingham - Chemical & Environmental Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Nottingham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,777
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 12th October 2018
Closes: 31st December 2018
Reference: ENG1208

Faculty of Engineering – Bioprocess, Environmental and Chemical Technologies Research Group

Applications are invited for a collaborative PhD studentship with Johnson Matthey and the University of Nottingham. 

The studentship will evaluate the technical and financial viability of producing target chemicals (fuel oxygenates; polymer precursors) from C1 gases (CO, CO2, CH4) through bioconversion routes. Towards this aim, the studentship will:

  • Develop supply chain models for waste feedstocks in UK and globally, incorporating information on composition, availability, and cost
  • Evaluate conversion technologies for gaseous feedstock production (gasification; anaerobic digestion)
  • Develop detailed process design and techno-economic analysis models for bioconversion of C1 gases to target products

You will join an established research team within the Bioprocess, Environmental and Chemical Technologies Research Group at Nottingham (University Park campus) and will be able to collaborate with key research initiatives, such as the Green Chemicals Beacon of Excellence (, and established research centres (e.g., Synthetic Biology Research Centre). 

Johnson Matthey ( is a speciality chemicals company focused on its core skills in catalysis, precious metals, fine chemicals and process technology. The company employs around 13000 people worldwide located in over 30 countries; around 10% of those work in an R&D function. More than half of JM’s products have a direct environmental benefit, a figure that is set to increase as a key part of the company’s growth strategy is to focus on emerging environmental opportunities.  Johnson Matthey’s participation in this project will be through the Technology Centre (JMTC) based at Sonning Common in the UK. This central facility acts as a focal point for the development of new technologies into emerging market applications.

Applicants should have a background in chemical engineering, or a related discipline, and have or expect to graduate with a 1st class degree, preferably at Masters level, a distinction at MSc level, or equivalent. In exceptional circumstances a 2:1 degree can be considered. The studentship will cover PhD tuition fees and a full stipend at the RCUK rate (£14,777) for four years. Due to funding restrictions this studentship is only available to UK and EU citizens. 

When applying for this studentship, please include the reference number (beginning ENG) within the personal statement section of the application. This will help in ensuring your application is sent directly to the academic advertising the studentship. 

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr Jon McKechnie (

Applications with a CV, a brief statement of your research interests, and the names and email addresses of two referees should be sent to Dr Jon McKechnie, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Nottingham, University Park, NG7 2RD. Email:

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