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Towards a net zero society: transforming carbon dioxide into fuels using electricity and light

   Chemistry & Chemical Engineering

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  Dr Paul Kavanagh, Prof Peter Robertson  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The large-scale conversion of carbon dioxide into synthetic fuels, such as methanol, is an attractive prospect which could alleviate our reliance on fossil fuels and help achieve our net zero goals. To achieve this, carbon dioxide must be converted to a more reactive ‘radical’ form so it that it can be combined with protons and electrons to form energy rich molecules. Naturally, this is achieved by photosynthesis whereby plants, for example, use photoactive enzymes to activate and transform carbon dioxide into carbohydrates, which are then used to fuel cellular processes.

This project aims to develop novel synthetic routes from ‘carbon dioxide to fuels’ utilising simple electro/photo-active molecular catalysts, such as quinones, which can rapidly transfer protons and electrons to carbon dioxide, mimicking the catalytic activity of photo-enzymes.

Training in all electrochemical, photochemical, and structural characterisation techniques necessary to complete the project will be provided. Candidates should have, or expect to achieve, a first or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in chemistry or chemical engineering. It is recommended that interested students should contact Dr Paul Kavanagh to discuss the position in more detail before making a formal application.

For more information please contact: Dr Paul Kavanagh ([Email Address Removed]

Applications must be submitted online, by the deadline, using the QUB Direct Application Portal

Funding Notes

• Full eligibility (including residency conditions) and funding information can be viewed via
• Candidates must possess or expect to obtain, a 2:1 or first-class degree in Chemistry or closely related discipline
• Candidates must be available to start the post by October 2023
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