Doctoral Student in Energy Technology, focus on Thermal Process Chemistry

Updated: 7 months ago
Deadline: 14 Feb 2020

The Department of Applied Physics and Electronics is now recruiting a PhD student to the research environment Thermochemical Energy Conversion Laboratory . The aim is to investigate the chemical environment around phosphorus in ashes in order to understand how we can better recycle this vital element. The application deadline is 14 February 2020. The position will be added no earlier than 2 March 2020 or by agreement.

Project description
Phosphorus is one of the essential elements that today has a linear use - from mines to land and water. This cycle has been identified as one of the biogeochemical flows that constitute a high risk factor for the sustainable development of the planet. To end the cycle, thermal processes such as combustion and gasification will be necessary to deal with the large amounts of phosphorus-rich residual streams that are not being used to their full potential today. One limitation for recycling ash produced in such processes is how phosphorus is bound and what other elements are found together with phosphorus.

The project aims to investigate the chemical environment around phosphorus in ash from thermochemical conversion of biomass and waste. The PhD student will work within the research project "Fundamental studies of chemical speciation in ash fractions from thermal conversion of biomass and waste streams focusing on phosphates and heavy metals", which is funded by the Swedish Research Council. The project will help us determine if potentially harmful elements such as Zn and Cu are bound in phosphates from ash fractions and how this can affect their solubility if ashes were used directly as fertilizers.

The doctoral student will work on: synthesis of complex phosphate structures, structural determination, X-ray analytical techniques such as X-ray diffraction and synchrotron-based analysis. Furthermore, the doctoral student is expected to collaborate with researchers in national and international research projects that are connected to their own project.

The project is an excellent educational opportunity that addresses research issues closely related to global challenges within the border area for energy supply and a sustainable society.

The applicant has an M.Sc. in chemistry, chemical engineering, energy engineering, environmental engineering or equivalent. To be admitted for studies at third-cycle level the applicant is required to have completed a second-cycle level degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are at second-cycle level, or have an equivalent education from overseas, or equivalent qualifications. In addition to these general requirements, the applicant must have completed at least 120 higher education credits in chemistry, chemical engineering, energy technology, environmental engineering or other subjects that are directly relevant to postgraduate education. Applicants who have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in any other system, either within Sweden or abroad, are also eligible to be accepted. The requirements must be met at the time of admission to postgraduate education and need not be met when applying.

A successful applicant is expected to have a strong personal interest in contributing to an increased recovery of nutrients in society. We believe that the applicant is very motivated, goal oriented, and have the ability to work with mainly experimental tasks both independently and in collaboration with a research group. The project involves handling chemicals and experimental work at high temperatures, which means that high a safety awareness is important.

Good collaboration skills as well as professional working proficiency in English, both written and spoken, is required.

Other desirable qualifications
It is considered advantageous if the applicant has documented experience of inorganic chemistry at high temperature. Documented experience from experimental studies of residues from combustion and / or gasification processes is a merit, as is documented expertise in relevant analytical methods (especially XRD, SEM-EDS, and / or synchrotron-based methods). Professional working proficiency in Swedish is a merit.

Terms of employment
The position is expected to lead to the doctoral degree and the main task of the doctoral student is thus to be active in research, doctoral courses and possibly participate in teaching at courses at the basic level. The funding period is limited to four years full-time (48 months). Teaching and other departmental work (up to a maximum of 20%) may be included. The position is limited to four full-time or up to five years if teaching and other departmental work is performed. The salary is determined according to the fixed salary scale for doctoral students at the Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå University.

Your application should include the following:

  • A letter with a brief description of your qualifications, research interests and motivation for the application as well as your contact details (max 2 pages)
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Copies of relevant (a) diploma and certificate.
  • A list of university courses with grades. Note that for international applicants, the grading system must be explained in brief.
  • A copy of the Master's thesis and publications (if any).
  • Contact information for two academic reference persons.

The application, including attached documents, must be written in English or Swedish. The closing date for applications is 2020-02-14.

For more information contact Nils Skoglund, tel: +46 90 786 68 01 email:, or prefect Dr. Per Hallberg, tel. +46 90 786 80 62

The application must be sent via the Varbi e-recruitment system no later than 2020-02-14.

We look forward to receiving your application!

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