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  Computational screening and scale-up of porous materials for biogas upgrading


   Department of Chemical and Process Engineering

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  Dr M Jorge, Dr Vassilis Inglezakis  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Biogas is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, particularly since methane (its main component) is ~28 times more potent than CO2 in trapping heat in the atmosphere. Upgrading biogas to renewable natural gas or bio-methane, would mitigate these emissions while also harnessing the energy potential of anthropogenic waste. This requires the biogas stream to be purified from roughly 60% to at least 90% methane, removing CO2 and other contaminants in the process. Among all available technologies, including scrubbing, membranes and adsorption processes, the latter offer higher energy efficiency and comparatively low cost. However, the effectiveness of adsorption processes hinges on the optimal selection of adsorbent material. This project aims to deploy a unique combination of molecular modelling, data science and experimental methods to: 1) find the ideal adsorbent for biogas upgrading under realistic industrial operating conditions, using data-based computational screening informed by molecular simulations; 2) scale-up and shape the material(s) identified in step 1; 3) select and optimise the required adsorption process for industrial-scale upgrading of biogas using process modelling methods. This strategy will enable us to cover all aspects of the material design workflow, from molecular-level understanding of the adsorption mechanism, all the way to performance prediction and life-cycle analysis.  

This project is a partnership between the University of Strathclyde and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), specifically with the group of Prof Carlos Grande. The experimental parts of the project will be carried out by the KAUST team, while the modelling aspects will be conducted at Strathclyde. Visits to the partner institution may be required.  

You will join a world-leading team of researchers to design the next generation of porous materials for industrial separations. You will be trained in cutting edge computer simulation methods, including high-performance computing, as well as data handling and processing skills, both of which will address current skills gaps leading towards digitalisation of research. 

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects. 

Information about the host department can be found by visiting: 

www.strath.ac.uk/engineering/chemicalprocessengineering 

www.strath.ac.uk/courses/research/chemicalprocessengineering/ 

To apply, please visit the University of Strathclyde website [include link to the University website]. You will be required to upload a full CV, copies of classification degrees and transcripts, proof of English language proficiency (if applicable), reference letters, and a short (1-page) motivation letter.

The University of Strathclyde is a socially progressive institution that strives to ensure equality of opportunity and celebrates the diversity of its student and staff community. Strathclyde is people-oriented and collaborative, offering a supportive and flexible working culture with a deep commitment to our equality, diversity and inclusion charters, initiatives, groups and networks. 

We strongly encourage applications from Black, Asian and minority ethnicity, women, LGBT+, and disabled candidates and candidates from lower socio-economic groups and care-experienced backgrounds. 


Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6) Engineering (12) Environmental Sciences (13) Materials Science (24)

Funding Notes

The funding package (including both fees and stipend) is available for UK students. The project is also open to international students where the difference between the home fee and the international fee amount is required from external funding.

Where will I study?

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