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

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

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 (ERA) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)

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 and other opportunities within the European Bioenergy Research Institute contact Dr Katie Chong by email

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, and explaining how your knowledge and experience will benefit the project.

Funding Notes

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home/EU fees rate, plus a maintenance allowance of £14,553 in 2017/18.

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 £12,005 in 2017/18.

As part of the application, you will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or, secured this additional funding.

How good is research at Aston University in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 23.63

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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