Sustainable Alternative Routes to Chemicals and Fuels via Carbocatalysis


   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, including precious metals. This PhD project aims to develop novel processing routes to these critical compounds based the application of carbon-based heterogeneous catalysts.

In heterogeneous catalysis, the role of carbonaceous deposits is often considered as solely negative contributing to catalyst deactivation through the coking of active metal sites. Research from our laboratory has however demonstrated that coke deposits can often play a positive role in enhancing catalytic reactions, and indeed can themselves provide the catalytically active sites (see e.g. https://doi.org/10.1039/C5CY01236H). This opens up opportunities to design new classes of carbon-based catalysts for sustainable transformation, avoiding the use of Earth-scarce precious metal. This potential will be explored in this project, with opportunities to study catalytic hydrogenation, dehydrogenation and related reactions in both gas/solid and liquid/solid reaction systems.

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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