Catalysis plays a critical role in modern society, where 90% of all chemical processes involve heterogeneous catalysts. Nevertheless, heterogeneous and biological catalysis is still considered as one of the top 24 challenges in chemistry when asking “what’s next” in 2015 . This project, related to such a fundamental challenge, proposes the innovative use of heterogeneous catalysts (supported metals, photo-catalysts) in tandem with biotransformation for sustainable chemical processes (see our work in ).
Examples of application may include converting CO2 (Greenhouse Gas) to useful chemicals (e.g. methanol) and using renewable biomass (e.g. furfural) as feedstock to produce fuels/chemicals through the development of hybrid (heterogeneous, photocatalytic and/or enzymatic) catalytic systems.
The project will involve catalyst synthesis, characterisation and testing; reaction kinetics/thermodynamics, mechanism investigation, computational modelling and coupling and integration of reactions, using the experimental facilities available within the collaborating research groups.
The start date for the project is to be agreed by the supervisor but no later than 01/11/2019.
The successful candidate will have, or expect to have an Honours Degree (or equivalent) at 2.1 or above in chemical engineering or chemistry, or related subject along with a Master degree in the same subjects. Preferred skills include knowledge/experience of heterogeneous catalyst synthesis, characterisation and testing, reaction engineering/kinetics, analytic/physical chemistry, computational modelling and possibly photo-/electro-/enzymatic catalysis.
Dr. Xiaodong Wang, Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering, will join the Department of Engineering in September 2019. Informal inquiries can be made to Dr. Wang ([email protected]
). Applications should be made via Lancaster University’s online system: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/how-toapply-for-postgraduate-study/
. You should clearly state on your application that you are applying for a funded PhD opportunity on "Hybrid Catalytic Systems".
 G.M. Whitesides, Reinventing chemistry. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 54 (2015) 3196-3209.
 X. Wang, T. Saba, H.H.P. Yiu, R.F. Howe, J.A. Anderson, J. Shi. Cofactor NAD(P)H regeneration inspired by heterogeneous pathways. Chem 2 (2017) 621-654.