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Sustainable Alternative Routes to Chemicals and Fuels via Catalytic Hydrogenation


   Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering

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  Dr J McGregor  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Sheffield United Kingdom Chemical Engineering Chemistry

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 heterogeneous catalytic hydrogenation.

Catalytic hydrogenation plays a crucial role in the synthesis of fuels and chemicals. However, these processes face a number of challenges including the use of fossil-derived reactants (including H2), the use of Earth-scarce metals as catalysts etc. Opportunities exist to improve the sustainability of these processes, including the use of new reactants and process, and extending catalyst lifetimes through reducing catalyst deactivation. Previous research in our group has looked, for example, the use of CO2 as an alternative feedstock in the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis of liquid-fuels (https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110665147-021) or the use of water instead of hydrogen as a hydrogenating agent (https://doi.org/10.1002/cssc.201902340). Key target products in this area, among others, include liquid fuels for aviation. This project will build on our extensive previous experience in this field to develop sustainable solutions to this crucial industrial challenge.

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.


Funding Notes

Please see this link for further information on the scholarships available: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/phd/scholarships.
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