Green conversion of (mixed) waste into porous carbon materials with application in gas treatment by adsorption

   School of Engineering

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

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Dr C Fernandez-Martin, Dr D Dionisi  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This project will face the global challenge of reducing landfilling by revalorising wastes of different nature and composition (i.e. plastics and food industry waste streams) to produce added-value materials to tackle GHG emissions (e.g. CO2).

The research candidate will investigate the sustainable conversion of waste into adsorbents (namely activated carbons) of different nature and composition. Produced materials will then be characterised and tested for gas separation (i.e. elimination of undesired gaseous species and/or impurities from industrial gas mixtures, such as CO2). The latter will involve experimental activities such as the application of green thermochemical conversion treatments to the selected wastes, surface modification, materials characterisation, evaluation of gas uptakes at equilibrium and dynamic conditions, adsorption selectivity determination, adsorption-desorption kinetics evaluation, among other techniques.

Applicants who would like to explore/suggest a specific innovative idea within the scope of this project are welcome and encouraged. For the later, a brief and concise description of the idea (maximum 1-2 page) should be submitted as part of the application. 

Selection will be made on the basis of academic merit. The successful candidate should have, or expect to obtain, a UK Honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Chemical Engineering or any related discipline, such as BSc in Chemistry, Materials Science.

Thermochemical conversion treatments of materials, materials surface modification, materials characterisation: namely N2 sorption to determine textural characterisation (BET, micropore volume, total pore volume, average pore diameter…), gas chromatography (product analysis and quantification), FTIR, XRD, TGA, porosimeter, etc, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, reactor design and kinetics/reactor dynamics, thermodynamics and heat transfer, gas separation processes, adsorption principles, kinetics of adsorption and desorption, etc.

Microsoft Office package (specially Excel, Word, Power Point).

The knowledge of any other software such as Matlab, Aspen Hysys (Adsorption) will be valuable.

Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, Chemical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Environmental Engineering, Renewable Energy Engineering, Gas Separation Processes, Adsorption, Mass and Energy Balances.


Formal applications can be completed online:

• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering

• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor

• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding

• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)

• Detailed CV, Personal Statement/Motivation Letter and Intended source of funding

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr C Fernandez-Martin ([Email Address Removed]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ([Email Address Removed])

Chemistry (6) Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

This PhD project has no funding attached and is therefore available to students (UK/International) who are able to seek their own funding or sponsorship. Supervisors will not be able to respond to requests to source funding. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting


[1] Plaza, MG, Pevida, C, Martin, CF, Fermoso, J, Pis, JJ & Rubiera, F. (2010), 'Developing almond shell-derived activated carbons as CO2 adsorbents', Separation and Purification Technology, vol. 71, no. 1, pp. 102-106.
[2] Plaza, MG, Pevida, C, Arias, B, Fermoso, J, Casal, MD, Martin, CF, Rubiera, F & Pis, JJ.(2009), 'Development of low-cost biomass-based adsorbents for postcombustion CO2 capture', Fuel, vol. 88, no. 12, pp. 2442-2447.
[3] Martin, CF, Plaza, MG, Garcia, S, Pis, JJ, Rubiera, F & Pevida, C. (2011). 'Microporous phenol-formaldehyde resin-based adsorbents for pre-combustion CO2 capture'. Fuel, vol 90, no. 5, pp. 2064-2072.
[4] Martin, CF, Garcia, S, Pis, JJ, Rubiera, F & Pevida, C. (2011). 'Doped phenol-formaldehyde resins as precursors for precombustion CO2 capture adsorbents'. Energy Procedia, vol 4, pp. 1222-1227.
[5] Martin, CF, Plaza, MG, Pis, JJ, Rubiera, F, Pevida, C & Centeno, TA (2010). 'On the limits of CO2 capture capacity of carbons'. Separation and Purification Technology, vol 74, no. 2, pp. 225-229.

Where will I study?