Sustainable Alternative Routes to Chemicals and Fuels via Black Soldier Fly Larvae

   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 on an exciting new route employing black soldier fly larvae (BSFL).

BSFL have been successfully demonstrated to convert various food and other biomass wastes into protein, in environments across the globe. This protein is often applied in animal feed, however two other key products are also produced by the larvae; namely organic acids (fat) and chitin. Previous research in our laboratory has previously sought to utilise the fat and chitin for novel applications. For example, we have demonstrated the chemical synthesis of surfactants normally produced from palm/coconut oils or fossil sources from the fat component of the larvae (see, e.g. This project will, building on previous work and our close industrial links, seek to expand and develop on the application of BSFL-derived fat and chitin for a range of value-added products.

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: 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:

Chemistry (6) Engineering (12)

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