Doctoral student in Chemical Engineering (PA2023/132)

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 08 Feb 2023


The development of catalysts to upgrade renewable feedstocks is vital for a sustainable future. Alternative feedstocks typically differ in chemical composition compared to fossil-based feedstocks and to further develop catalytic materials that enable efficient and environmentally friendly chemical processes, it is necessary to understand the functional mechanisms of these materials in detail. The high oxygen content in biomass, as well as water formation in the catalytic hydrotreatment process, are two challenges to producing high-quality fuel. This project aims to achieve a fundamental understanding of how oxygen and water interact with the catalyst during conversion of biomass to biofuel.

Subject description

Research at the department of Chemical Engineering is focused mainly on resource-efficient technologies for sustainable development and is carried out in collaboration with other national and international research groups and companies. Scientists at our department have long experience in pretreatment methods, as well as biotechnological and thermo¬chemical reactions, separation processes, and the design of processes for the production of chemicals, fuels, and other materials from biomass. The research task in this project will be to characterize Mo-based hydrotreatment catalysts for processing lignin or other biomass-based feedstocks. The focus will be on in situ and operando studies of catalysts to achieve a detailed understanding of the properties of the active material. To gain fundamental knowledge about the impact of the high oxygen content and water formation in the catalytic process, model catalysts will be synthesized and used. The simplified model studies will be performed in parallel to traditional studies of industrial applied catalysts.

Work duties

The work is experimental and will be performed in collaboration with other Ph.D. students working at the department but also outside of Lund University in international collaborations. The student will perform and plan in situ and operando characterization studies of the Mo-based catalyst using synchrotron-based XPS and XAS. The research will also include the synthesis of model catalysts. Typical techniques that will be used in addition to synchrotron-based techniques are SEM/TEM, XRD, Raman, BET, TPR, and laser diagnostics. The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which include participating in research projects and third-cycle courses. The work duties will also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%).

Admission requirements

A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if the applicant:

  • has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

A person meets the specific admission requirements for third cycle studies in Chemical Engineeringif the applicant has:

  • a specialized project of at least 30 second-cycle credits in the subject.

Additional requirements:

  • Very good oral and written proficiency in English.

Assessment criteria

Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the student’s potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle. Special attention is paid to the following:

  • Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study.
  • An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience.
  • Other assessment criteria:

    • Collaborative skills and the ability to communicate with researchers in other research fields.
    • Merit for employment is a documented ability to work independently in research and problem-solving.
    • Experience in analytical techniques for the characterization of material structures using X-rays.
    • Experience in working with Mo-based catalytic materials.
    • Knowledge of data evaluation programs such as Python or Matlab and Labview for experimental setup control is merit.
    • Hands-on experimental experience is valued.
    • Very good oral and written in Swedish
    • Experience in teaching

    Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle program.

    Terms of employment

    Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Third cycle studies at LTH consist of full-time studies for 4 years. A doctoral studentship is a fixed-term employment of a maximum of 5 years (including 20% departmental duties). Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 §§.

    Instructions on how to apply

    Applications shall be written in English and include a cover letter stating the reasons why you are interested in the position and in what way the research project corresponds to your interests and educational background. The application must also contain a CV, degree certificate or equivalent, and other documents you wish to be considered (grade transcripts, contact information for your references, letters of recommendation, etc.).

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