Dunn-Sargent Jointly-advised Post-Doctoral Fellowships in CO2 capture and upgrade: Technoeconomic analysis (TEA), life-cycle assessment (LCA), and process design and optimization

Areas of Research: Prof. Jennifer Dunn and Prof. Edward H. Sargent seek jointly to attract post-doctoral fellows analyzing the path to a timely and just energy transition.

Elements will include the analysis of CO2 capture, CO2 upgrade to fuels and chemicals, and the defossiilization of electricity, industrial processes, and agriculture.

The incumbents will join an interdisciplinary team and will contribute expertise that includes:

  • Life cycle assessment and technoeconomic analysis, informed by process optimization and uncertainty analysis;
  • The computational and experimental investigation of COcapture and release (including electrified), as well as CO2 electrocatalytic upgrade.

Flows of interest/to be evaluated include electrocatalytic processes, biological processes and thermocatalytic processes, including their combined/cascade approaches.

            Specific topics and targets for analysis include:

  1. Direct air capture (DAC) of CO2, including capture, transport, and sequestration; as a function of the source of electricity, including analysis of its intermittency, its carbon intensity; and with analysis of the cost and overall carbon intensity of the related capital plant and its maintenance.
  2. The production of food/food molecules from CO2.

Description of Duties: Successful candidates will place their major focus on achieving original first-authored publications in interdisciplinary academic journals. They will work effectively in a team environment and will value the chance to reach across disciplines and to work with partners in industry and at our partner U.S. Department of Energy national labs. Post-doctoral fellows will take advantage of the opportunity to increase their mentoring skills, helping doctoral students to develop as scientist-engineers.

Essential Qualifications:

  • Applicants must have received, or be close to receiving, their PhD degree in an area of chemical engineering, bioengineering, civil engineering, environmental sciences, chemistry, materials science, or a related field.
  • Applicants must possess at least one of the following, or transferable skills:
    • Expertise in topics related to the bioreactors, thermocatalysis, electrocatalysis, and/or carbon capture and separation processes.
    • Expertise in topics related to net GHG emissions associated with the end-to-end process of crop production.
    • Demonstrated ability to perform LCA and TEA and to write related scientific reports.
    • Experience in process modeling, including in the use of tools such as Aspen Plus, CHEMCAD, SuperPro.
    • Experience levering open-source software such as GREET, openLCA, SimaPro, or GaBi.

Salary: $58,000 USD/year and above based on experience.

Expected Start Date: Jan 1, 2024, or as soon as possible thereafter

Appointment: Term – (12 months) with the potential for renewal

How to apply:

Please include in your application package a cover letter; your full academic CV; information on 2 referees that are prepared to be consulted; your two most relevant publications. Please send as a single combined PDF whose file name includes your first and last names to Melissa Rosen (melissa.rosen@northwestern.edu) with the subject line “Dunn-Sargent TEA/LCA PDF Application” by Nov. 20, 2023. Evaluation of candidates will begin immediately and continue until filled.

Posting Date: Oct 28, 2023

Closing Date: Nov 20, 2023

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  • Application deadline: Nov 20, 2023
  • Northwestern University
  • Chemistry
  • Evanston, IL USA
  • Postdoc Positions
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