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University of Leeds Featured PhD Programmes
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Glycerol purification route for reforming utilisation


Department of Chemical Engineering & Analytical Science

About the Project

Raw glycerol is an abundant, cheap and green by-product from 1st and 2nd generation bio-diesel plants. Depending on the process it contains several other organic compounds resulting in a high energy source. However, it also contains other components such as ash, salt and inorganic matters derived from bio-diesel separation steps and other residues such as spent catalysts or metals.
The PhD will cooperate with the team currently involved in the recently granted H2020 EU GLAMOUR project (Glycerol to Aviation and Marine products with sustainable recycling) to convert the crude glycerol into sustainable aviation and marine fuels.

The PhD will study the different separation processes required to obtain the glycerol specification in terms of purity, moisture and recovery rate to be suitable for the following reforming process where it is converted into syngas.

Among the different separation routes, extraction and distillation will be considered. The PhD student will design the rig for the testing and operate it. Different crude glycerol samples will be tested to optimise the refining route such as acid solution number of washing and decanting steps. The purified glycerol will later be tested with the new reforming catalyst to assess the stability and yield at different purity. The PhD will also perform the conceptual design of the glycerol refining unit and carry out the process analysis and costing.
Applicants are invited for a PhD Studentship under the supervision of Dr. Vincenzo Spallina in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science of the University of Manchester in cooperation with Argent Energy Limited. The PhD is expected to contribute to the EU project by taking part to the project meetings (every 6 months), present the results to national and international conferences and publish research papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Funding Notes

Applicants should have or expect to achieve at least a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in Chemical, Process and Mechanical Engineering, or any other related degree.

Candidates with a good background in separation technology, bio-based process design, as well as good understanding of the reactor engineering concepts are desirable.

Industrial funded, yearly of £18200, also eligible for company bonus and pension scheme. The fees are covered for an EU/UK applicant. Overseas applications will not be considered

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