PhD Research Project: Sustainable catalytic science and engineering through hydrothermal synthesis
Catalysis plays a key role in the energy and chemical industries with over 90% of products employing a catalyst in their synthesis; as such the sector is a major employer of graduate engineers and chemists. As society moves towards reducing its reliance on fossil sources however, novel catalytic processing routes and novel catalysts for sustainable manufacturing are required to be developed. This project will explore the potential of hydrothermal approaches to make a disruptive advance in this area.
Water behaves very differently under high temperature and pressure as compared to ambient conditions. Notably, it loses its “aqueous” character becoming capable of dissolving organic material and can act as a solvent, reactant and catalyst simultaneously. This project will build on previous work in our group to understand these effects and apply high temperature water as a medium for reactions such as (i) the synthesis of petrochemical-type products from waste feedstocks (e.g. biomass or carbon dioxide); (ii) the catalytic upgrading of waste streams (e.g. wastewater); and (iii) the synthesis of low-cost, high-effectiveness catalysts for chemical processing.
This is genuinely novel area of research, with wide-ranging applications, which builds on previous work within the research group. A successful applicant will gain a broad range of experience on catalytic testing, analysis, catalyst synthesis and materials characterisation which will ensure that they are well equipped to take-up a future position in industry or academia.
The DTG provides funds for studentships (fees + stipend for UK applicants, fees only for EU students) on a competitive basis. Applications are welcome up until the closing date. Overseas applicants will not qualify for DTG funding but self funded/externally funded applications are welcome
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