Birkbeck, University of London Featured PhD Programmes
Imperial College London Featured PhD Programmes
Norwich Research Park Featured PhD Programmes
Norwich Research Park Featured PhD Programmes
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Heidelberg) Featured PhD Programmes

Experimental study of biomass fractionation into high-value fuels and chemicals

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  • Full or part time
    Dr Paula Blanco-Sanchez
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Applications are invited for a three-year Postgraduate studentship, supported by the School of Engineering and Applied Science, to be undertaken within the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) at Aston University. The successful applicant will join an established experimental group working on thermal and catalytic biomass conversion processes for bio-fuels and bio-chemicals.


Considering the shortage of fossil fuels and the increasing demand for fuels and chemicals, it has been necessary to explore alternative sources in order to cope with the fossil fuel deficit. Biomass is a widely available renewable feedstock, which can be processed to obtain bio-fuels or bio-chemicals.

This studentship will explore different physical and chemical processing stages for biomass, in order to obtain high-value fuels and chemicals. Particularly focusing on the upgrading of pyrolysis products. The combination of biomass conversion and products upgrading is a common practice in biorefineries, where biomass is fractionated to make high-value products for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, transportation, energy sector, construction, etc. Diverse experimental and analytic techniques will be used in combination in order to characterise and optimise both feedstocks and products.

This studentship is offered in association with the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) collaboration, which is designed to provide scholars with a broader grounding in their research area during their PhD. Some additional components of research training and specially tailored events will be provided by ERA.


The successful applicant should have a first class or upper second class honours degree or equivalent qualification in Chemical Engineering or a closely related area. Preferred skill requirements include knowledge/experience of thermochemical processing of biomass and biomass model compounds, acid hydrolysis, catalytic process design and characterisation, bio-fuels, bio-chemicals, and biorefineries.

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, recently recognised by a prestigious Silver Award to EAS, and we pride ourselves on our vibrant, friendly and supportive environment and family atmosphere.


For informal enquiries about this project and similar PhD opportunities, contact Dr Paula Blanco-Sanchez ([Email Address Removed]). Application process is via the official Aston University website.

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 £14,777 in 2018/19.

Applicants from outside the EU may apply for this studentship but will need to be able to cover the difference between the ‘Home/EU’. The ‘Overseas’ tuition fees currently are £12,290 per annum (2018/19).

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

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2019
All rights reserved.