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High throughput discovery of heterogeneous catalysts for long chain alcohol synthesis


Project Description

A 4 year iCASE EPSRC PhD position supported by Unilever to use robotic high-throupghut methods to discover new catalysts to transform waste carbon dioxide into key sustainable chemical products.

The gradual depletion of crude oil reserves and increasing environmental concerns have driven scientific research on alternative processes for the production of commodity chemicals.

Long chain alcohols are key components in the industrial production of detergents and surfactants This project will develop new catalyst systems for the transformation of waste CO2 into long chain alcohols, to develop a sustainable route to their manufacture.

This project will involve the high throughput synthesis of catalysts targeted to identify the optimum combination of active phases, promoters and supports, followed by structural characterization and rapid screening of their stability under catalysis conditions. The best emerging candidates of this search will be synthesised at larger scale and their activity on long chain alcohol synthesis will be evaluated on a lab scale catalytic reactor. Experimental work will be enabled by instrumentation that is already established and available within the participating research groups, together with world-class characterization and robotic facilities available within the Materials Innovation Factory (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/materials-innovation-factory/). Owing to the multi-faceted nature of this dynamic project, the student will work closely with the project team of scientists at the University of Liverpool and Unilever, who are experts on inorganic materials synthesis, crystal structure analysis, heterogeneous catalysis and long chain alcohol use in home and personal care applications.

Applications are welcomed from students with a 2:1 or higher master’s degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, or Materials Science.

Please apply by completing the online postgraduate research application form. Please ensure you quote the following reference on your application: High throughput discovery of heterogeneous catalysts for long chain alcohol synthesis

Funding Notes

This is a four year EPSRC iCase award supported by Unilever. The award will pay full tuition fees and a maintenance grant (UKRI National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for 2019/20 is £15,009 pa) and it is anticipated that the successful candidate will start in October 2019. Applications from candidates meeting the eligibility requirements of the EPSRC are welcome – please refer to the EPSRC website.

References

Direct synthesis of long-chain alcohols from syngas over CoMn catalysts. Applied Catalysis A General 549, 179-187 (2018); http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apcata.2017.09.037
Proxy-based accelerated discovery of Fischer–Tropsch catalysts. Chem. Sci. 6, 935-944 (2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c4sc02116a

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