Postdoctoral Fellow on LCA Modelling of Carbon Capture and Valorisation Using Waste Heat
In 2020, Ontario had an electricity surplus of 17.2 TWh from low-carbon sources (enough to power nearly 2 million homes). One way to make better use of Canada's clean electricity is to increase storage capacity, but storage capacity is expensive and has a sizeable environmental footprint. An alternative explored in this project is to use surplus clean energy in combination with the abundant waste heat of nuclear power plants to capture carbon dioxide from the air and transform it into net-zero hydrocarbons like ethanol, methanol, and ultimately longer-chain products. These hydrocarbons can be used as feedstock for the chemical industry in lieu of petroleum products. This transformation requires heat and electricity, so using surplus power is a promising approach to make this carbon capture and valorisation (CCV) process economically viable. Given the urgent need for Canada to further de-carbonise its electricity grid and industry, and to pursue more active carbon capture strategies, this project will provide a timely analysis to guide clean energy development and strengthen Canada's climate plan.
The tasks of this postdoctoral position will comprise:
- Perform life-cycle assessment (LCA) of the proposed CCV routes and compare them to grid-level storage capacity for non-dispatchable power;
- Optimize the energy system and its configurations of integrating waste heat from nuclear power plants or other sources into CCV routes to produce ethanol, methanol, and other platform chemicals;
- Combine LCA and techno-economic analysis (TEA) to assess the environmental and cost impact of system-optimized CCV solutions;
- Work efficiently with other team members and co-supervise graduate students in this project.
Requirements and Desirable Experiences
As part of a diverse and interdisciplinary research team, the successful and highly motivated candidate holds a PhD in mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, energy systems engineering, environmental engineering, or a similar discipline. Modelling experience with mechanistic or data-driven approaches (or both), including programming skills is a must. Furthermore, the candidate will be familiar with system modelling in process-based LCA or heat transfer (or both). Specific process knowledge in TEA of energy systems is highly desirable, and understanding recent developments in direct air capture (DAC), hydrogen production, or carbon valorisation technologies is a plus. We appreciate the candidate's excellent spoken/written English, good interpersonal skills and time management, and independent working style.
Conditions of Employment
Gross salary: CA$ 48,000 per annum (negotiable for exceptional candidates)
Location: Negotiable, 1) Queen's University in Kingston, ON or 2) University of Windsor in Windsor, ON
Benefits: The standard package offered by the host university (either Queen's or UWindsor)
Period of employment: 100% FTE, 1 year, Renewable
Start date: September 2023 or soon after.
Queen's is committed to counteracting discrimination in this institution and developing a climate of educational equity that recognizes and respects the equal dignity and worth of all who seek to participate in the life, work and mission of the University. Such a climate is created and maintained by developing a university-wide commitment to and understanding of educational equity, supported by policies, programs, curricula, practices and traditions that facilitate individuals - and equity-seeking groups- free, safe, and full participation.
More information at https://www.queensu.ca/inclusive/resources/equity-diversity-antiracism.
The University of Windsor (UWindsor) has demonstrated exemplary commitment over the past 30 years to employment equity and is committed to achieving and maintaining diverse and inclusive representation amongst all of its employees. UWindsor is equally committed to ensuring that researchers at UWindsor are provided with an equitable, diverse and inclusive (EDI) environment and that the University's policies and procedures continue to support ongoing research excellence in a fully equitable and inclusive manner.
More information at https://www.uwindsor.ca/research-innovation-services/335/equity-diversity-and-inclusion-research.
How to Apply
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. All applications received by 15 MAY 2023 will be fully considered. Applications after this date will be considered until the position is filled. Please send your application to Dr. Ofelia Jianu (email@example.com) AND Dr. Qian Zhang (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the recommended subject line [YOUR NAME]: Application for CCV postdoctoral fellowship. The application must include a cover letter explaining your research interests and motivation for the position, a detailed CV with publication records, and the contact information for two references.
For further information, please contact Dr. Qian Zhang (email@example.com).