The production process for ammonia is energy-intensive and harmful to the environment, but due to a lack of alternatives, the outdated production has continued. Agriculture is completely dependent on ammonia in the production of artificial fertilizers, yielding a high demand for ammonia. Ammonia is also a fuel completely free of carbon emissions with high energy density. By replacing the traditional process with a plasma-catalysis based approach, energy consumption would be drastically reduced as the pressure and temperature can be lowered in the production. This project focuses on fundamental understanding of the plasma catalysis process and its components; plasma, catalysis and the synergy between the two. The project is a collaboration between the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Department of Physics, and the doctoral student will work in close collaboration with researchers from both departments.
Research at the Department of Chemical Engineering is primarily focused on resource-efficient technical solutions for sustainable development, and is conducted in collaboration with other national and international research groups and companies. Researchers at the Department of Chemical Engineering have extensive experience in thermochemical reactions, catalysis and the design of processes for the production of chemicals and fuels.
The research task in this project will be to study plasma catalysis for ammonia production. The focus will be on experimental in situ and operando studies to achieve a detailed understanding of the properties of the plasma and its interaction with the catalytically active material. To gain basic knowledge of the chemical process, model systems will be studied.
The work is mostly experimental and will be carried out in collaboration with researchers and doctoral students at the Department of Physics, but also outside Lund University in international collaborations. The PhD student will perform and plan in situ and operando characterization studies of plasma using laser diagnostics and the catalyst with primarily optical and synchrotron light-based methods. Typical techniques that could be used in addition to synchrotron light-based techniques are SEM/TEM, XRD, Raman, BET, TPR and different 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%).
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 Engineering if the applicant has:
- a specialized project of at least 30 second-cycle credits in the subject.
- Very good oral and written proficiency in English.
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:
Other assessment criteria:
- Good ability to communicate and collaborate with researchers in other research fields.
- Documented experience of independent research-related work and problem solving.
- Experience in advanced laser diagnostics for ultra-fast processes such as structured illumination and spatial lock-in analysis.
- Good knowledge of laser physics and spectroscopy
- Knowledge of programming such as Python or Matlab and also Labview for control of experimental set-up is advantageous.
- Laboratory experience will be valued.
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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