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Two PhD positions: Biomass fractionation and processing (Bio-Value SPIR)

Two PhD scholarships are available at Center for Bioprocess Engineering (BioEng), Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark to work on biomass fractionation, separation and processing technology.

The PhD studies are part of the BIO-VALUE SPIR platform funded under the SPIR initiative by The Danish Council for Strategic Research and The Danish Council for Technology and Innovation.

Current development of biorefineries has been driven by the requirement for production of biomass derived fuel for the transportation sector, e.g. ethanol. But as part of the general transition towards a bioeconomy and to increase profitability there is a need to develop and refine technologies and processes to produce higher value products from biomass. The overall goal of the BIO-VALUE platform is to develop sustainable technologies for the conversion of plant material into high-value products. Being part of the platform means collaboration with senior scientists and more than 30 PhD and Post Doctoral fellowships on several Universities in Denmark, along with representatives from partners from DLG, Arla, Novozymes, Haldor Topsøe A/S, Rockwool and numerous small and medium sized enterprises.

The participation of BioEng in the platform is on upgrading of sugar streams from biomass and in the Competence Center: Separation Technology. The upgraded sugar and lignin streams will be obtained by optimizing pretreatment/fractionation in combination with enzymatic treatments, separation and purification techniques. The work will involve several PhD candidates to work closely together on various parts of the process and with selected process streams. Initially, the work will focus on wheat straw and sugar cane bagasse as biomasses, but other biomass types, including green biomasses may be considered later.

PhD student 1 will assist in the development of pretreatment/fractionation processes that enable the production of defined sugar streams along with getting a better fundamental understanding of the processes and their interaction with downstream enzyme and separation processes. The project will include:

  • Defining and testing process designs and conditions
  • Detail characterization of the product streams after fractionation
  • Selection and testing of strategies for production of glucose stream

PhD student 2 will assist in the development of specific separation processes as well as combining relevant enzyme reactions with simultaneous membrane separation. The project will include:

  • Development of novel reactive separation systems, with the aim of recovering and purifying streams of specific carbohydrates of interest
  • Evaluation of membrane technology techniques for high performance fractionation and separation

A MSc in chemical or biochemical engineering or related discipline is required. Background or experience in biorefinery processing, biomass pretreatment, separation technologies and membrane technology will be positively valued.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Professor Anne Meyer and Associate Professor Manuel Pinelo.

We offer
We offer an interesting and challenging job in an international environment focusing on education, research, public-sector consultancy and innovation, which contribute to enhancing the economy and improving social welfare. We strive for academic excellence, collegial respect and freedom tempered by responsibility. The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is a leading technical university in northern Europe and benchmarks with the best universities in the world.

Salary and appointment terms
The salary and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for PhD degree students. The period of employment is 3 years.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Professor Anne Meyer, tel.: +45 4525 2909 or Associate Professor Manuel Pinelo, tel.: +45 4525  2950.

You can read more about DTU Chemical Engineering on

Please do not send applications to this e-mail address, instead apply online as described below.

Please submit your online application no later than 3 March 2014. Applications must be submitted as one pdf file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link « Apply online, » fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one pdf file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master’s degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and public service. Our staff of 5,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 9,000 students are educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.

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