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Plastic recycling and conversion through hydrothermal processing

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, January 29, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This project will develop a novel solution to recycle waste plastics by converting them to valuable products using high-temperature water as the solvent and reactant. Previous work in our research group has shown that water under sub-critical conditions is highly effective at degrading and liquefying a range of organic materials such as complex biomasses. We have also shown that through the addition of a solid catalyst we can convert these degradation products into value-added chemicals, therefore providing a sustainable manufacturing route.

In this project you apply this previous knowledge to the combined, one-pot, degradation and upgrading of waste plastics. This will investigate a range of parameters such as reaction conditions, the role of the solvent, the influence of different catalysts etc. A key outcome will be an understanding of the reaction mechanism, in order to facilitate the development of this new process. This is an experimental based project which will involve reaction testing and analysis, using techniques such as GCMS. It is well suited to applicants with a good knowledge of chemical engineering or chemistry.

The chemicals sector underpins UK and global manufacturing. This project will provide the skills necessary to enter a range of roles in those sectors or in the broader sustainability field.

The student will be working as part of a larger research group in a well-resourced lab dedicated to developing sustainable engineering solutions to global challenges.

Funding Notes

Entry Requirements:
Good honours degree in chemistry, chemical engineering or a related subject.


The student will be working as part of a larger research group in a well-resourced lab dedicated to developing sustainable engineering solutions to global challenges. For further details please contact Dr. James McGregor directly via

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