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  Sustainable Alternative Routes to Chemicals and Fuels from Biomass


   Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The global climate emergency presents pressing challenges around identifying sustainable routes to fuels and chemicals, the production of which currently relies on fossil and other unsustainable resources. This PhD project aims to develop novel processing routes to these critical compounds based the application of biomass as a feedstock.

There is growing interest in the application of biomass, e.g. waste agricultural residues, as a precursor for the synthesis of value-added chemicals in an approach often termed ‘industrial biorefining’. This project will explore the development and application of chemical catalysts, and in particular solid heterogeneous catalysts, in the processing of biomass in liquid-solid and gas-liquid-solid reactions. Previous research in our group has examined, for instance, brewers spent grain (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fbp.2019.12.010), avocado seed and palm kernel shell (https://doi.org/10.1007/s12649-021-01623-7) for the synthesis of either liquid chemical products or solid catalysts for sustainable applications. This project will build on this previous work, with scope to direct it towards the specific interests of the student.

The research will be conducted in a well-equipped, modern experimental laboratory. Alongside reaction studies, students will employ a range of analytical methods including GC-MS, FTIR, etc. This project is suitable for graduates in chemical engineering, chemistry or a closely related discipline. Previous experience of experimental laboratory work is essential, as a demonstrable passion for research. Full training on all equipment to be used will however be provided.

Training on the specific analytical techniques to be used will be provided, while a wide variety of research training will be provided via the Doctoral Development Programme.

Chemical manufacturing underpins the UK economy and plays a crucial role globally. A PhD graduate in this area can expect to be in high demand.

The student will be supported by the project supervisor and other members of the research group.

Please see this link for information on how to apply: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/cbe/postgraduate/phd/how-apply. Please include the name of your proposed supervisor and the title of the PhD project within your application.

Applicants should have a good first degree in chemical engineering, chemistry or a related subject. If English is not your first language then you must have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) average of 6.5 or above with at least 6.0 in each component, or equivalent. Please see this link for further information: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/phd/apply/english-language.

Chemistry (6) Engineering (12)

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