New Openings -  PhD in Chemical Engineering 

The direct capture of CO2 from the atmosphere is a technology that will become essential to combat climate change. This can be done using either liquid solvents or solid adsorbents, where the solid adsorbents seem to present a number of advantages compared to solvents. The solid sorbent materials used for direct air capture of CO2 are mostly reactive materials, such as amine enhanced silica or alumina. There are currently a handful of start-up companies worldwide, who pioneer direct air capture with the use of solid, chemical adsorbents.

However, the currently existing direct air capture processes are mostly based on experience, and fundamental data is missing on the behaviour of sorbent materials with CO2, water and other components in the air (like oxygen). The aim of this PhD project will be to gain a deep understanding of the adsorption behaviour of the components found in air onto different, novel solid adsorbent for direct CO2 air capture. These materials include metal-organic frameworks, amine enhanced silica and others. The candidate will use Heriot-Watt’s cutting edge, state-of-the-art laboratory infrastructure for this. During the PhD there is room for the candidate to venture into either synthesising new adsorbents her/himself (in addition to the sorbents supplied by partners) or to use the lab results to extend into mathematical modelling of direct air capture processes. Work is based at Heriot-Watt, but some visits to industrial/academic partners may be necessary.

We are looking to recruit an excellent student who is motivated by a desire to contribute to preventing climate change. A background in chemical or process engineering, environmental engineering, laboratory experimentation and/or mathematical modelling are highly desirable, similar backgrounds may also be considered. It concerns a fully funded position including a stipend at standard EPSRC rate of £15.009 per annum on a net basis that requires the student to hold either UK or EU nationality.

The student will join Heriot-Watt’s Research Centre for Carbon Solutions, an internationally leading centre for researching solutions to prevent climate change. The centre includes state of the art laboratories, servicing a dynamic community of students and researchers.

If you are interested in the position, please contact Mijndert van der Spek


Further Reading

Sanz-Pérez, E. S.; Murdock, C. R.; Didas, S. A.; Jones, C. W. Direct Capture of CO2 from Ambient Air. Chem. Rev. 2016, 116 (19), 11840–11876.




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