3-year Postdoc position in hydrothermal liquefaction

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 19 Feb 2023

The Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering, Aarhus University, invites applications for a 3 year Postdoc position offering applicants an exciting opportunity to join a new European research project on hydrothermal liquefaction.

This is a 3–year position from 15.05.2023 or as soon possible.
This is a fixed-term position to end on 14.05.2026.

Job description

The main responsibilities of the candidate will lie in:

  • planning and execution of pilot scale HTL campaigns
  • carrying out wet-oxidation experiments in batch and continuous mode
  • measuring the gas composition of HTL and Wet-oxidation
  • the design, modification of the existing HTL pilot plant to integrate wet oxidation
  • chemical analysis of HTL products, data processing and analysis from experimental campaigns to produce scientific publications and reports
  • active participation in the EU Horizon project with all it’s partners, attend meetings, compile collaborative reports etc.
  • active participation in the supervision and training of MSc, BSc and PhD students
The work will expand on the on-going research using a state of the art, continuous, hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) reactor at the Foulum Campus of Aarhus University. See bce.au.dk/biorefining for more details. The HTL plant is currently one of the largest worldwide in academic settings and allows testing of unique and novel ideas at a relevant scale for industry. The work will be carried out as part of a growing team working in hydrothermal processing (carbonization and liquefaction) with currently two faculty members, five postdocs, two PhD students, technicians and varying amounts of MSc students and BSc students.

Prior experience in operation, design and maintenance of chemical engineering processes at lab or pilot scale is desired. The candidate is required to have a PhD in chemical engineering, process engineering or similar (or about to complete the degree). A strong academic background in applied research and publication record are expected. The candidates must demonstrate ability to conduct basic and applied interdisciplinary research, and experience with technology transfer from university to industry is beneficial. It is important that the applicant has the ability to independently design and construct process equipment based on high pressure fittings (e.g. Swagelok), installation and programming of sensors and process control (e.g. Labview, Labjack, Matlab or similar).
Experience in analysis of biomass, biofuels and bioproducts using equipment such as elemental analysis, HPLC, GC-MS and similar are essential skills for the candidate.

The ideal candidate has all or several of the following qualifications and specific competences:

  • A PhD degree in Chemical Engineering or similar (or about to)
  • Prior experience in hydrothermal liquefaction and/or wet oxidation
  • Prior experience in operating continuous reactors for biomass processing
  • A solid background in thermochemical processing of biomass, biorefining, biofuels or related areas.
  • The ability to work independently and to generate new ideas and creative approaches.
  • The ability to write high impact, peer reviewed academic publications.
  • Is passionate about science and engineering and working in a team dedicated to green technologies.

Who we are

The Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering Within Chemical Engineering, the BCE Department has strong research sections in Environmental Engineering and Materials & Process Engineering. Close collaboration with our neighboring Departments (Mechanical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Molecular Biology & Genetics, iNano, Biosciences, Food, Agroecology and Chemistry) is a natural part of our culture. The successful applicant will be working with Chemical Engineering and will produce and disseminate knowledge and research results. Translation of results into solving relevant societal challenges is a highly prioritized part of our work.

The position is available through a European Horizon Europe project called CIRCULAIR. The project has 10 partners from all over Europe and started on the 01.01.2023 and will last for 4 years. The aim of the project is to produce sustainable aviation fuel from agricultural wastes. This is achieved by the HTL technology which is carried out at Aarhus University and the candidate. In addition wet oxidation is used to treat the HTL process water in an integrated way. This is also performed at AU while other parts of the fuel production and side stream valorization are carried out at other partners.

What we offer

The department/centre offers:

  • a well-developed research infrastructure, laboratories and access to shared equipment
  • an exciting interdisciplinary environment with many national, international and industrial collaborators
  • a research climate encouraging lively, open and critical discussion within and across different fields of research
  • a work environment with close working relationships, networking and social activities
  • a workplace characterised by professionalism, equality and a healthy work-life balance.

Place of work and area of employment

The position includes two permanent workplace addresses in Foulum and Aarhus respectively. The attendance at each workplace address is by agreement with your immediate supervisor. At the time of employment, the distribution between the workplace addresses is expected equally distributed with place of employment in Aarhus and Foulum. In Aarhus the place of work is Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering, Hangøvej 2, 8200 Aarhus. In Foulum the place of work is Centre for Biorefining Technologies, Blichers Alle 20, 8830 Foulum . The area of employment is Aarhus University with affiliated institutions.

Contact information

For further information, please contact: Associate Professor, Patrick Biller, pbiller@bce.au.dk


Applications must be received no later than 19.02.2023

Application procedure

Shortlisting is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants.

Letter of reference

If you want a referee to upload a letter of reference on your behalf, please state the referee’s contact information when you submit your application. We strongly recommend that you make an agreement with the person in question before you enter the referee’s contact information, and that you ensure that the referee has enough time to write the letter of reference before the application deadline.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to ensure that letters of reference received after the application deadline will be taken into consideration.

Formalities and salary range

Technical Sciences refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation .

The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities .

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.

Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Read more here . Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here .

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here .

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University’s website.

Deadline: 19 February 2023

Aarhus University

Aarhus University is an academically diverse and research-intensive university with a strong commitment to high-quality research and education and the development of society nationally and globally. The university offers an inspiring research and teaching environment to its 38,000 students (FTEs) and 8,000 employees, and has an annual revenues of EUR 885 million. Learn more at www.international.au.dk/

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