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Mechanical Characterisation of Poly-Lactic Acid (PLA) bioplastic from Biomass and its digestibility in a Thermophilic anaerobic digestion (AD) process.

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Reference Number: AMRC-ST-2018-1-PhD

Project Summary:
The research focuses on testing bioplastic PLA for applications within the packaging industry. PLA is a compostable plastic and could be used for bio-energy generation through an anaerobic digestion (AD) process. Due to recent EU circular economy strategy this research applies on the principles of oil refinery to degradable biomass in a Zero waste approach for sustainable production of value added energy through anaerobic digestion process.

Specific Requirements of the Project


• Have first class or highly-marked 2:1 honour degree and MSc. in Chemical or Mechanical Engineering, or similar disciplines.
• Have experience or understanding of data analysis and interpretation software like MS-Excel and good oral and presentation skills (proficiency in MS-PowerPoint) for disseminating project outputs at international conferences.
• Eagerness to disseminate project findings with undergraduate students at project-related seminars.
• Meet the minimum English Language requirements (IELTS or other) set up by MMU for a PhD level.

Project Aims and Objectives


Aims and Objectives
Poly –Lactic Acid (PLA) is considered the most attractive among other bio plastics. PLA is easy to recycle and can be composted in Thermophilic AD facilities for the biogas generation. This project aims to
i) investigate and optimise the mechanical/thermal properties of the PLA produced within the research group and
ii) identify the potential biogas yield achievable from the biopolymer in terms of its anaerobic digestibility.

Objectives
i. identification of Mechanical/Thermal characterisation of material (PLA) and factors affecting performance to be improved.
ii. potential volumes and optimisation of biogas production from PLA via thermophilic anaerobic digestion of the biopolymer, including possibility and consideration of pretreatments to enhance yield.
iii. Combine project findings utilising this integrated biorefinery approach to develop an economically viable concept (PLA + biogas). This step also involves a consultation with stakeholders.

Project is open to: Home/EU and overseas

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