Postdoctoral Position in Chemistry (with Focus on Environmental Chemistry)

Umeå University

Umeå, Sweden


This postdoctoral position is part of a larger research project where we will be demonstrating the integrated production of methane and carbonized biomaterials (biochar, activated carbon, and carbon fiber) from forest biomass. By organosolv pretreatment of the biomass we can extract a lignin fraction isolated in high yield and high purity. The carbohydrate fraction from the pre-treatment will be used for the conversion of methane by digestion, while the lignin will be the feedstock for conversion to carbonized materials.

You will mainly work with carbonization of lignin and digestates by means of hydrothermal carbonisation (HTC). Some of the prepared biochars be further refined to activated carbon and/or carbon fiber. You will both evaluate how the chemical and physical properties of the biochars, activated carbons and carbon fibers are related to the origin and pretreatment of forest raw material, and also the performance of the carbonized materials as water purification adsorbents. This project will mainly be carried out within the environmental platform of the research programme Bio4Energy, and within a research group focusing on thermal processes that utilize biomass and other biomaterials. The work is mainly based at Umeå University but some tasks may be located to Luleå University of Technology which is our collaboration partner in this project. We also have five industry partners in the project that you in different ways will interact with during the project.

Competence requirements

The required qualification is a doctoral degree or a foreign degree that is deemed equivalent in chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science, or in an equivalent field. To be eligible you shall have completed your PhD degree before the starting date of the employment and a maximum of three years before the end of the application deadline unless special circumstances exists. Previous experience of carbonization of biomass and/or organic waste materials is required.

You shall have a keen interest in the area and be prepared to take on the scientific and technical challenges. Training and/or experience in environmental chemistry, biochemistry, analytical chemistry and surface chemistry is very qualifying. In addition, it is desirable that you have experience in techniques of relevance for environmental analysis (primarily GC-MS and LC-MS) and surface characterization techniques such as FTIR and XPS. We expect you to have the capability of planning and performing scientific experiments, and an interest to operate in an international environment. Previous international experience is a merit. You should be creative, with good interpersonal and collaborative skills, power of initiative, and a high degree of independence. You should also have very good skills in writing scientific publications. Very good command of the English language, both written and spoken, is required.

About the position

The employment is full-time for a period of two years, starting in September 2017, or at a date decided in agreement between the two parties.

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