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Optimisation of anaerobic digestion to produce chemicals and methane - LEVERHULME

Project Description

Anaerobic digestion has a large potential for the production of renewable energy and renewable chemicals, however this potential is currently largely unexploited. This project is aimed at understanding the issues that limit the efficiency of anaerobic digesters and that have so far prevented the use of this technology for the production of chemicals. The project will require experimental work using lab-scale anaerobic digesters run with model and real wastes under various operating conditions (different feed composition, concentration, hydraulic and solids residence time). The reactors will be monitored for their removal of COD, carbohydrates, volatile solids and for their production of gas (hydrogen and methane) and liquid phase products (short chain organic acids and alcohols).

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 related discipline with knowledge of chemical engineering principles and mass and energy balances.


Formal applications can be completed online: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/pgap/login.php

• Apply for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering
• State the name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Leverhulme’ as the Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

Funding Notes

Tuition Fee waiver only, provided at UK/EU rates. Successful applicant will need to provide funds for living expenses.

International students are welcome to apply, providing they can meet the difference between UK/EU and International tuition fees.


Dionisi, D, Bolaji, I, Nabbanda, D & Silva, IMO 2018, 'Calculation of the potential production of methane and chemicals using anaerobic digestion', Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 788-801

Bolaji, I & Dionisi, D 2017, 'Acidogenic fermentation of vegetable and salad waste for chemicals production: Effect of pH buffer and retention time', Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, vol. 5, no. 6, pp. 5933-5943.

Dionisi, D & Silva, IMO 2016, 'Production of ethanol, organic acids and hydrogen: an opportunity for mixed culture biotechnology?', Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 213-242.

How good is research at Aberdeen University in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 38.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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