A major challenge in contemporary energy and environmental management is to develop processes for food and energy security that are environmentally sustainable. Fossil derived fuels contribute to global warming and are a depletable energy resource. It is increasingly becoming clear that the alternative of deriving energy from biological sources such as agricultural crops is not a sustainable route and more efficient routes of generating energy from biological sources are required. Microalgae are photosynthetic organisms that can be employed to develop processes that can sequester CO2 from the atmosphere, as well as from point sources emitting CO2 in significant amounts, such as power plants to generate biomass that can in turn be used for the production of fuel or fuel precursors, and nutrient enriched food/feed ingredients. Energy vectors derived from algal biomass include ethanol, butanol, hydrogen, methane, hydrocarbons, etc. In addition, microbial fuel cells and biobatteries offer solution towards energy storage. Microbial processes have the potential for development towards sustainable bioenergy generation options as the inputs can be sourced from readily available feedstock in a sustainable manner. Nevertheless, challenges exist in converting the potential to viable processes.
The aim of this project is to study and examine engineering strategies that include cultivation of microbes in consortia to develop processes for energy generation and energy storage that will be environmentally sustainable. An understanding of microbial metabolism and feedstock utilisation will form the basis of developing strategies that are viable.
Please see this link for information on how to apply: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/cbe/postgraduate/phd/how-apply. Please include the name of your proposed supervisor and the title of the PhD project within your application.
Applicants must have achieved or expect to achieve a 1st class or 2:1 honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline in Chemistry, Chemical/Biochemical/Environmental Engineering or Bioscience/Microbiology/Molecular biology. A strong undergraduate background in bioscience or chemical/biochemical engineering/energy engineering, with an interest in renewable energy generation, microalgae physiology, biochemistry and/or environmental engineering/sustainability is desired. If English is not your first language then you must have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) average of 6.5 or above with at least 6.0 in each component, or equivalent. Please see this link for further information: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/phd/apply/english-language.