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PhD Studentship in Process Intensification of Hemicellulose Purification and Polymerisation into Biorenewable Resins

Project Description

Number of awards


Start date and duration

September 2020, 3.5 years


The overall aim of the project is to valorise hemicellulose side streams emanating from the wood, pulp and paper industry, by applying multiple intensified processing steps and technologies to produce bio-renewable resins.

The PhD project will focus on two specific aspects of this bio-based process:

(1) the upstream purification steps to separate the valuable sugars and corresponding oligomers from hemicellulose hydrolysate liquors. This will be achieved via intensified precipitation techniques in highly mixed fluid environments in continuous flow reactors. Ultimately, in conjunction with other partners in the project, we seek to develop a hybrid purification strategy using multiple intensification technologies to further enhance the purification and concentration of sugars, increase the selectivity of the process and minimise the amount of solvent used.

(2) intensified polymerisation of furan-based derivatives, which will be conducted in a thin film spinning disc polymeriser capable of enhancing mixing, heat and mass transfer in the polymerizing film to produce a polymer resin with uniform properties, whilst minimising further downstream purification needs.

This PhD project is in partnership with a recently awarded €5M EU-funded project involving 13 European partners across 8 European countries, including several industrial multinational companies. The successful PhD candidate will benefit from significant interaction with academic and industrial partners in the larger project consortium and funding for international travel to attend consortium meetings and international conferences. You will join The Process Intensification Group (, a vibrant group with ~70 active researchers, working on several process intensification technologies in areas related to sustainable processing, biofuels, CO2 capture and valorisation, among other applications.


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr Kamelia Boodhoo -

Dr Fernando Abegao -

Eligibility Criteria

The award is available to UK/EU applicants only. Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award.

Applicants must have, or expecting, a 2.1 Honours degree or above in Chemical Engineering or Process Engineering, or equivalent.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system (

All relevant fields should be completed, but fields marked with a red asterisk must to be completed. The following information will help us to process your application. You will need to:
•insert the programme code 8030F in the programme of study section
•select ‘PhD Chemical Engineering (full time) - Chemical Engineering’ as the programme of study
•insert the studentship code eng065 in the studentship/partnership reference field
•attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code eng065 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
•attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications


Dr Kamelia Boodhoo ()

Funding Notes

Full UK/EU fees (eligibility criteria applies to EU students) and annual living allowance of £15,009

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