PHD POSITION: REDUCTION OF AGRICULTURAL METHANE EMISSIONS USING PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 22 May 2022

The aim of this project is to develop a novel plasma technology for dairy and meat industry to effectively deal with enteric methane emissions. A significant portion (ca. 43%) of agricultural GHG emissions is methane, and most of that (ca. 80%) is produced by enteric fermentation, i.e. by belching cattle. Currently there is no economically feasible way to treat methane that is present in low concentrations, below 1 vol-%. The goal of the project is to develop novel technologies for methane oxidation to less harmful carbon dioxide, thus reducing the GWP of the enteric emissions by 96%. The CANMILK project focuses on developing plasma technology to remove enteric methane emissions inside animal barns and thereby tackling the biggest singular agricultural GHG source. CANMILK is an international collaborative project between multiple industrial and academic partners.

In this project, the PhD candidate will perform experiments to understand the reaction mechanisms of trace-methane removal using plasma discharges. This will be achieved by using gas analysis (e.g. GC, FTIR) alongside state-of-the-art in-situ laser and optical diagnostic techniques (Raman and Thomson scattering). With this combined diagnostic approach, we will be able to map gas composition, density, and temperature throughout the reactor and in-doing so determine local chemical kinetics data. This data will be used to validate chemical kinetic models that are being developed at a partner university.

The successful candidate is expected to perform laboratory experiments to evaluate processes occurring in plasma discharges. Experiments will be performed in our new laboratory, located at Chemelot, 20 km North of Maastricht. You will work independently to collect, analyse, and evaluate experimental data. You will join a small team working on similar (i.e. plasma and spectroscopy) experiments. We expect that you will regularly discuss, share, and present your work with fellow team members, colleagues, collaborative partners, and wider audiences at international conferences. We expect you will write a number of high-quality scientific articles, ultimately culminating in your PhD thesis.


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