UK PhD studentship in "Sustainable Aviation Fuel Production from Biomass"


About the Project

Brunel University London is recruiting new Doctoral Researchers to their EPSRC funded Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) PhD studentships starting 1 October 2024. Applications are invited for the project Sustainable Aviation Fuel Production from Biomass, supervised by Dr Kok Siew NG. 

Successful applicants will receive an annual stipend (bursary) of approximately £21,237, including inner London weighting, plus payment of their full-time home tuition fees for a period of 42 months (3.5 years).   

You should be eligible for home (UK) tuition fees there are a very limited number (no more than three) of studentships available to overseas applicants, including EU nationals, who meet the academic entry criteria including English Language proficiency.   

You will join the internationally recognised researchers in the Department of Chemical Engineering research and PhD programmes | Brunel University London 

The Project 

Aviation fuel conventionally derives from crude oil-based kerosene, contributing nearly 2% to global CO2 emissions. A critical global need exists to enhance the adoption of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), addressing environmental, social, and economic challenges. SAF, derived from biomass and organic waste through processing routes such as hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA), Fischer-Tropsch (FT), and alcohol-to-jet (ATJ), requires solutions to address feedstock availability, robustness of conversion technologies, and sustainability performance of the system.  

This research focuses on developing an integrated, flexible, and robust biorefinery system for SAF production, applying a whole-system design approach embedding chemical engineering principles and process integration techniques. The aim is to achieve maximum resource efficiency and minimum environmental impact by transforming by-products and waste into value-added products. The project involves computational modelling and optimisation using Aspen Plus, GAMS, and Python, along with sustainability assessment covering economic, environmental life cycle assessment (LCA), and social impact assessment. 

Please contact Dr Kok Siew Ng at  for an informal discussion about the studentships.  

Entry Criteria 

Applicants will have or be expected to receive a first or upper-second class honours degree in an Engineering, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics or a similar discipline.  A Postgraduate Masters degree is not required but may be an advantage.    

Skills and Experience 

 Applicants will be required to demonstrate the following skills: 

  •  Computational modelling: This project requires simulation modelling and optimisation techniques using Aspen Plus, Python, and GAMS.  
  • Sustainability assessment: This project involves rigorous techno-economic analysis and environmental life cycle assessment (LCA). 

You should be highly motivated, able to work independently as well as in a team, collaborate with others and have good communication skills. 

How to Apply  

  Two stages of the application: 

1.Applicants must submit the pre-application form via the following link 

by 16.00 on Friday 5th April 2024.   

2.If you are shortlisted for the interview, you will be asked to email the following documentation in a single PDF file to  within 72hrs. 

  • Your up-to-date CV; 
  • Your Undergraduate degree certificate(s) and transcript(s) essential;  
  • Your Postgraduate Masters degree certificate(s) and transcript(s) if applicable;  
  • Your valid English Language qualification of IELTS 6.5 overall (minimum 6.0 in each section) or equivalent, if applicable; 
  • Contact details for TWO referees, one of which can be an academic member of staff in the College. 

 Applicants should therefore ensure that they have all of this information in case they are shortlisted. 

 Interviews will take place in April/May 2024.