PhD student position in thermochemical plastic recycling

Updated: 7 months ago

The Department of Space, Earth and Environment contains five divisions, with research and education spanning from global challenges related to sustainability and energy supply to astronomy and space sciences. The department is host to two major infrastructures, Onsala Space Observatory and Chalmers Power Central, and consists of about 250 employees.

Information about the division
The Division of Energy Technology is developing new thermal processes that can contribute to a circular economy. Focus is on efficient and affordable methods for large-scale conversion of biomass and waste to chemicals, fuels, power and heat. Especially waste is a relevant feedstock to recycle carbon and to close material loops. A specific area is plastic waste, which despite significant efforts is only recycled to less than 40% today. Additionally, the recycled material does not reach the same quality as the virgin plastic, in contrast to for example aluminum. 

Steam cracking is an alternative to thermally recycle plastics waste to produce the feedstock for new plastic production of highest quality. The challenge is to design a process based on collected plastic waste fractions that is insensitive to impurities, coking and contamination but still can supply feedstock of high quality for chemical clusters. Suitable reactor systems based on fluidized bed technology for its heat transfer properties and robustness and initial trials at the Chalmers pilot demonstrate the potential. In those systems different types of bed materials such as catalysts are applied to optimize the reaction conditions.

The Division of Energy Technology is a part of the Department of Space, Earth and Environment. We conduct research and offer education in mainly energy technologies and energy systems. Our current activities cover a wide range of aspects related to transformation of the energy system and how to limit the environmental impact of energy use, with the main focus being on climate change mitigation. Important research questions include impact of climate and energy policy measures, opportunities to reduce emissions in different sectors and identification, evaluation and development of key technologies. Our research focuses on three main areas: i) combustion, gasification and cracking of solid fuels, ii) technologies for carbon dioxide capture, iii) energy system analysis. A considerable part of our research is experimental and for this we have built up and are maintaining unique experimental facilities, such as for example Chalmers research boiler which is a semi-commercial facility that beyond providing heat to Chalmers campus allows for cutting edge fuel conversion research in large scale

Major responsibilities
We are now looking for a talented and motivated PhD student that can contribute to endeavor. You will be working in a creative and experienced research group that is world leading in its field, has extensive experience of practical research and access to unique experimental infrastructure.

The work will involve a variety of aspects related to the thermo-chemical polymer recycling as for example: reaction chemistry, catalysis, ash chemistry, material characterization, thermodynamic modelling, process development, waste management and new analysis methods. Part of the research will be connected to experimental research campaigns in Chalmers semi-commercial research gasifier. The ultimate goal of the research is to contribute to the development of technologies capable of providing a significant amount of raw material for a chemical cluster with low environmental impact.

Position summary
Full-time temporary employment. The position is limited to a maximum of five years.

The PhD-candidate should have an education on MSc level corresponding to at least 240 higher education credits in Chemical Engineering or equivalent. A master thesis, relevant master courses and experience in fluidized bed technology, solid fuel conversion, hydrocarbon chemistry, waste handling and treatment or reaction modelling are meritorious. To be successful you need to be highly motivated, have a problem-solving ability, and enjoy working both by yourself as in a team, cooperating with others.

The position requires sound verbal and written communication skills in English.

Chalmers continuously strives to be an attractive employer. Equality and diversity are substantial foundations in all activities at Chalmers.

Our offer to you
Chalmers offers a cultivating and inspiring working environment in the dynamic city of Gothenburg .
Read more about working at Chalmers  and our benefits  for employees.

Application procedure
The application should be marked with Ref 20190538 and written in English. The application should be sent electronically and be attached as pdf-files, as below:

CV:(Please name the document: CV, Family name, Ref. number)
• CV
• Other, for example previous employments or leadership qualifications and positions of trust.
• Two references that we can contact.

Personal letter:(Please name the document as: Personal letter, Family name, Ref. number)
1-3 pages where you:
• Introduce yourself
• Describe your previous research fields and main research results
• Describe your future goals and future research focus
• Motivate in your application your interest and your qualification for the position

Other documents:
• Copies of bachelor and/or master’s thesis.
• Attested copies and transcripts of completed education, grades and other certificates, eg. TOEFL test results.

Please use the button at the foot of the page to reach the application form. The files may be compressed (zipped).

Application deadline: 15 November, 2019

For questions, please contact:
Martin Seemann, Energy Technology
Phone: +46 31-7721480

*** Chalmers declines to consider all offers of further announcement publishing or other types of support for the recruiting process in connection with this position. ***

Chalmers University of Technology conducts research and education in engineering sciences, architecture, technology-related mathematical sciences, natural and nautical sciences, working in close collaboration with industry and society. The strategy for scientific excellence focuses on our eight Areas of Advance; Building Futures, Energy, Information & Communication Technology, Life Science, Materials Science, Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, Production and Transport. The aim is to make an active contribution to a sustainable future using the basic sciences as a foundation and innovation and entrepreneurship as the central driving forces. Chalmers has around 11,000 students and 3,000 employees. New knowledge and improved technology have characterised Chalmers since its foundation in 1829, completely in accordance with the will of William Chalmers and his motto: Avancez!

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