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SLowCat (Securing a sustainable fuel supply through controlled synthesis of low-dimensional catalysts): Liquid-Phase biorefinery catalyst

   Department of Chemistry

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

About the Project

Reference number: SD/CM-CDT/2020
Start date of studentship: 1 October 2020
Closing date of advert: 16 June 2020
Interview date: 6 – 8 July 2020

Primary supervisor: Sandie Dann
Secondary supervisors: Jonathan Wagner, Xujin Bao

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

Project Detail: Liquid-Phase biorefinery catalyst

This project will develop robust, energy-efficient catalytic processes for low concentration biomolecular species in aqueous fermentation liquors. Unlike petrochemical refineries, biorefineries produce dilute aqueous product streams (10% or less) from fermentation liquors that require energy-intensive and expensive recovery, concentration and purification of intermediates prior to further chemical transformation over conventional refining catalysts into the desired final product. By developing new catalytic processes which enable direct conversion of these intermediates in the water phase, this project seeks to increase the economic feasibility of these processes. The grand challenge for a robust and energy efficient process lies in the lack of knowledge of the structure-property relationships in the catalysis process, which is caused by poor catalyst design and fabrication. We will select promising target reactions and identify, through experiments and computational approaches, suitable high-surface-area supports with tuneable hydrophobicity, hydrothermal stability over a wide pH range that are resistant to in situ leaching.

Find out more:

For informal enquiries, contact Sandie Dann, [Email Address Removed]

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 experiment work including excellent chemical synthesis/analysis skills.

Contact details:

Name: Sandie Dann
Email: [Email Address Removed]
Telephone: +44 (0)1509 222568

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select Chemistry

Please quote reference number: SD/CM-CDT/2020

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
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