PhD Studentship: Thermochemical routes for Waste-to-Fuels applications

Updated: 9 months ago
Location: London, ENGLAND
Deadline: 01 Dec 2019

UCL Department / Division
Department of Chemical Engineering
Location of position
Duration of Studentship
3.5 years
£17,000 per annum + UK/EU fees
Vacancy Information
The Department of Chemical Engineering at University College London (UCL) is among the leading research-intensive departments across the world. It hosts over 24 academics whose research is collaborative, ground-breaking and focused on solving societal problems.
Within the Thermochemical Fuel Lab Group group, the Chemical Engineering Department is seeking an enthusiastic and dedicated post-graduate student to work on new and promising technologies for the conversion of household waste in new materials and fuels.
The post-holder will collaborate with other team members on several existing projects, as well as with world leading industries. More specifically, the research fits the scope of the “Waste to Jet Fuel” projects, in collaboration with British Airways and Heathrow Airport.
The post-holder will have the opportunity of sharing results and ideas with several industrial partners. The post is fully funded (stipend and fees) for 3.5 years and is available from early 2020.
Studentship Description
The focus of this studentship is the renewable energy sector, and in particular the use of waste and biomass feedstock in thermochemical plants for the production of advanced fuels and materials. Our team at UCL has developed a thermochemical process where the syngas generated in a conventional bubbling fluid bed gasifier (FBG) is further treated in a series of unit operations to crack and reform tar and char species to provide a refined syngas suitable for use in a synthesis reactor.
The purpose of the current investigation is to gain a fundamental understanding as to how the key process operating variables impact the final quality of the syngas exiting the thermal plant, especially with regard to the residual levels of tar and other condensable organic species in the gas. A systematic study will be conducted to evaluate the effect of the key operating variables on the quality and quantity of the biofuel exiting the process.
The findings of this work will help inform the techno-economic optimisation of the process, and will also enable further refinement of the simulation model that has been developed by our team so far. This project will also utilise the X-ray imaging technique successfully developed at UCL to study the complex fluid-dynamic behaviour of feeding solid waste and sludge material into a bubbling FBG operating at 800 °C. Computational Fluid dynamic (CFD) modelling will be carried out using the FLUENT code, in parallel with the experimental work, to predict the mixing and segregation patterns inside the bed, especially around the point of feed injection. The CFD model will be validated with reference to the observed data obtained from the X-ray imaging work.
The successful candidate will be trained to conduct computational research, and to interpret experimental results. The techniques are transferable to other technological problems among various sectors, including the energy and oil&gas industries. The post holder will have the opportunity to interact with several industrial collaborators among different sectors and in different countries.
Person Specification
The successful candidate will have completed a first-class degree at the MEng or MSc level in Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Materials Sciences, Physics or related disciplines.
The successful candidate is a dedicated student, preferably with advanced understanding of thermochemical processes (pyrolysis, gasification and combustion), heterogeneous catalysis and research methods.
Willingness to perform independently, yet within a collaborative environment, within a world-class competitive and highly demanding environment are a must.
First-class degree at the MEng or MSc level is required.
Funds are only available to cover EU/UK fees.
Overseas students will be considered but are only eligible for stipend.
Please apply through the following:
Contact name
Dr Massimiliano Materazzi
Contact details
UCL Taking Action for Equality
Closing Date
1 Dec 2019
Latest time for the submission of applications
Interview date
Studentship Start Date
This role does not meet the eligibility requirements for a tier 2 certificate of sponsorship under UK Visas and Immigration legislation. Therefore UCL will not be able to sponsor individuals who require right to work in the UK to carry out this role.
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