Sustainable fuels and chemicals from the integrated conversion of biowastes PhD

Chemical Engineering
Entry requirements:
3 years
not available
Reference number:
Start date:
January 2019
Is funding available?
UK/EU fees:
International fees:
Application deadline:
07 October 2018



Nationally for research quality

REF 2014


in the UK for Chemical Engineering

The Times Good University Guide 2017


£17m STEMLab facility


Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

Project detail

Biomass-derived fuels, materials and chemicals are expected to play an important role in reducing our reliance on fossil resources, reducing carbon emissions and facilitating the transition towards a more sustainable economy. To minimise adverse effects on other areas (e.g. food production), biomass should be obtained from non-arable resources. These can be converted using different biological or thermochemical processes to yield products such as alcohols, biogas, bio-oils and biochars. However, many processes suffer from low product yields and quality, high processing costs and the production of harmful side products, which inhibit their commercial application.

This PhD will focus on two promising biomass conversion processes, anaerobic digestion and hydrothermal liquefaction. Both processes can convert wet biomass, eliminating the need for energy-intensive drying, and can be applied to a wide range of feedstocks. By combining different technologies and carefully integrating the process, the project will seek innovative solutions to address current barriers to commercialisation. Particular focus will be placed on the analysis of the different reaction product phases and their impact on downstream processing. The experimental work will be supplemented with process modelling to obtain material and energy balances and evaluate the overall process economics. In addition, the project is expected to involve close collaboration with industry and research groups in Cambridge, Bath, Manchester and other UK and international institutions.


Primary supervisor: Dr Jonathan Wagner

Secondary supervisor: Dr Gilbert Sharma

Find out more

For further research project details email Dr Jonathan Wagner or register your interest and ask us a question.

To find out more about the School of Chemical Engineering, please visit our website.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve:

  • a first class or upper second class Honours degree (or equivalent) in Chemical Engineering or a related subject
  • a relevant Master’s degree and/or knowledge/experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: thermochemical processing of biomass, anaerobic digestion, catalyst development, biorefineries, process modelling, life cycle analysis.

Applicants must meet the minimum English Language requirements.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £14,777 per annum for a duration of three years plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.  International (non-EU) students may apply, but the total value of the studentship will be used to cover the cost of the International tuition fee.

How to apply

All applications should be made online.  Under programme name, select “Chemical Engineering”.

Please quote reference number: CG-JLW-1814

Applications need to include an up-to-date CV and letter of motivation for the advertised project. International applicants need to provide clear details of how they would plan to cover their living expenses.

Application details

Reference number:


Application deadline: 07 October 2018
Start date: January 2019
Interview dates: To be confirmed