Research Fellow in Catalytic Upgrading of Bio-oil for Mini-grid Power Generation 144 views

Aston University

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We are offering an excellent opportunity for a research fellow role on a project funded by Innovate UK within the Thermochemical Conversion Group in the Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI), Aston University. EBRI is a flagship research institute in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and is an exciting and productive place for energy research. EBRI has attained national and international recognition in fundamental and applied research in bioenergy, catalysis, techno-economic assessment, energy systems analysis and process modelling. EBRI’s Thermochemical Conversion Research Group, focuses on both fundamental and applied studies of the thermal transformation of biomass and organic materials into valuable solid, liquid and gaseous products that are relevant to industry and modern society.

This is a fixed term post of 10 months, beginning in July 2020 and will involve work on an Innovate UK-funded project titled’ Ethiopian Minigrid Extension and Energy Storage (EMEES). The project is a collaboration between several academic and industrial partners. The role involves the selection, preparation and testing of catalysts for the upgrading of bio-oil from biomass pyrolysis into a liquid fuel for blending with conventional liquid fuels. In addition, the liquid fuel blends will be tested using a dedicated engine to determine combustion and emission characteristics.

The researcher will join a team exploring various aspects of bioenergy and sustainable chemicals research. For this role, the researcher will carry out laboratory-based investigation of catalytic upgrading of bio-oils produced from the pyrolysis of Ethiopian-sourced agricultural residues by the lead project partner.  Initial work will involve the assessment of literature to understand the current state of catalytic upgrading of bio-oil to enable the selection, preparation and application of appropriate catalysts to produce high yields of liquid hydrocarbons for use as fuels in internal combustion engines. The quality of the liquid biofuels should enable its direct combustion and/or blending with gasoline or diesel for electricity production for isolated communities in Ethiopia.   The role will involve detailed analytical characterisation of feedstock and reaction products, mass and energy balance computation, process optimisation and the initial process design. The role will also involve preparing proposals, literature reviews, fieldwork, report-writing, and taking a project leadership role, presenting the results of the work at project meetings, seminars and conferences.

The candidate should hold a PhD in chemical engineering or a closely related discipline such as chemistry, with experience of research in bioenergy, catalysis and analytical techniques (related to both catalysts and bioenergy products, particularly, bio-oils).

There is a requirement to live or be willing to move within commutable distance of Aston University’s main campus.

Location:  Aston University Main Campus
Salary:  £33,797 per annum
Grade:  Grade 08
Contract Type:  Fixed Term (10 Months)
Basis:  Full Time
Closing Date:  23.59 hours BST on Monday 22 June 2020
Interview Date:  To be confirmed
Reference:  R200170

For further information about the vacancy please email Dr Jude Onwudili

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