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SLowCat (Securing a sustainable fuel supply through controlled synthesis of low-dimensional catalysts): 3D/2D catalysts for waste streams


Department of Chemical Engineering

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Dr J Wagner No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Reference number: CG-JW-2008
Start date of studentship: 1 October 2020
Closing date of advert: 16 June 2020
Interview date: 6 – 8 July 2020

Supervisors:
Primary supervisor: Jonathan Wagner
Secondary supervisors: Marijana Dragosavac, Simon Kondrat

SLowCat (Securing a sustainable fuel supply through controlled synthesis of low-dimensional catalysts) is a major new project at Loughborough University led by a team of 8 physical scientists and engineers with complementary expertise in catalysis, modelling, material science and engineering. Underpinned by advisors from industry, academia and professional bodies and linked with the UK Catalysis Hub, SLowCat will revolutionise the next generation of catalysts for fuel and fine chemical generation from dilute feedstocks. Multidimensional catalysts, specifically tailored to manipulate fundamental interactions between particles will be produced, which utilise both top down (analysis of real feedstocks) and bottom up (controlling particle interactions from 0D to 3D) methodologies to design novel materials with tailored properties.

The successful candidate will join a team of enthusiastic and talented PhD students who are expected to work together across the consortium, undertake experiments at Loughborough/national facilities (e.g. Catalysis Hub, DIAMOND) and present their work externally (conferences, outreach). Each SLowCat project requires different core skills and applicants should apply for the individual projects they are interested in.

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your future career http://www.lboro.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/supporting-you/research/.

Project Details: 3D/2D catalysts for waste streams

This project will focus on the development and evaluation of low-cost catalysts for the hydrothermal gasification (HTG) of dilute biorefinery waste streams. Organic concentrations in these streams tend to be too low for energy-effective recovery, but too high or incompatible with conventional physical and biological wastewater methods. HTG is a promising alternative to break down these contaminants into methane, hydrogen and carbon oxides, which can be easily recovered and used for subsequent energy recovery. However, there is currently a lack of stable and affordable catalysts, with sufficient C-C bond cleavage activities under the harsh hydrothermal conditions.
By combining detailed kinetic studies with online monitoring of the catalyst structure, this project will identify key active species and evolution of the catalyst under hydrothermal conditions. This data will feed into the design of new structured materials, combining specialist functionality across multiple dimensions. Experimental work will be underpinned by process modelling to assess the overall energy requirements and economic feasibility of this process.

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in chemistry or materials science, a good aptitude for experimental work including excellent chemical synthesis/analysis skills.

Contact details:

Name: Jonathan Wagner
Email: [Email Address Removed]
Telephone: +44 (0)1509 222546

How to apply:

All applications should be made at http://www.lboro.ac.uk/study/apply/research/. Under programme name, select Chemical Engineering

Please quote reference: CG-JW-2008

Funding Notes

Starting in October 2020, the studentship is for 3.5 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £15,285 p/a plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. To qualify for this full award, all applicants must meet the EPSRC eligibility criteria including the UK residency requirement https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/students/help/eligibility/.
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