PhD Position in Hydrothermal Gasification of Digestate from Biogas Production

Trondheim, Norway
02 Jun 2021
End of advertisement period
28 Jul 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

A three-year PhD position is available in the Department of Energy and Process Engineering (EPT), Faculty of Engineering Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

The position is a part of the project “Next generation Biogas production through the Synergetic Integration of Gasification – BIOSYNGAS” (project number: 319723 - KSPKOMPETANSE20) funded by the Research Council of Norway.

The project is a collaboration between SINTEF Energy Research, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research - NIBIO, Norwegian University of Science and Technology - NTNU, Norwegian University of Life Sciences - NMBU, and Zhejiang University of Technology - ZJU, which is coordinated by SINTEF Energy Research and co-financed by Oslo Municipality (through Renovasjons- og gjenvinningsetaten – REG), Bergen Municipality, Fredrikstad Municipality (through Fredrikstad Vann, Avløp og Renovasjonsforetak - Frevar KF), LINDUM AS, Hadeland og Ringerike Avfallsselskap-HRA, Vestfjorden Avløpsselskap-VEAS, and Antec Biogas AS.

The primary objective of the BIOSYNGAS project is to improve the energy and environmental performance of biogas production by integrating with hydrothermal treatments (hydrolysis followed by gasification) of the digestate.

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree.

The position is placed at the Department of Energy and Process Engineering, NTNU in Trondheim, administered by Professor Terese Løvås. The position will start in January 2022 and report directly to the supervising Professor Quang Khanh Tran.

Duties of the position

This PhD position involves thermodynamic equilibrium modeling and experimental activity related to hydrothermal gasification of digestate residue from biogas production. Effects of pressure, temperature, residence time, catalyst, and solid/water ratio on products' distribution will be investigated. Emphasis will be given to the distribution of nutrients (P, N, K) and carbon in the liquid and solid phases and to their chemical composition. This will help assessing the availability of these elements as a nutrient source for soil enhancement. Another important parameter to study is the carbon distribution between the different phases which should give indication on the carbon gasification efficiency.

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a professionally relevant background in Physical Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, or closely related fields with solid knowledge and experience in thermodynamic equilibrium modeling. 
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are obtained at master's level 
  • You must have a strong academic background from your previous studies and an average grade from the master's degree program, or equivalent education, which is equal to B or better compared with NTNU's grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic basis. If you have a weaker grade background, you may be assessed if you can document that you are particularly suitable for a PhD education. 
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty's doctoral program in Engineering, ( 
  • Good knowledge of chemical thermodynamics or thermodynamics for chemical engineering.
  • Documented skill and experience in chemical thermodynamic modelling.
  • Good Matlab skill for programming, data processing and analysis.
  • Great command of both written and spoken English. 

Acceptable tests of English for the candidates from non-English speaking countries include TOEFL, IELTS, CAE (Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English), or CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English).

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant  

Preferred selection criteria

  • Good knowledge of thermochemical conversions (combustion, gasification, and pyrolysis) of lignocellulosic biomass materials.
  • Hand-on experience in thermodynamic modelling for biomass gasification.

Personal characteristics

  • Highly dedicated and committed.
  • Good teamwork and communication skills.
  • Ability to solve complex technical tasks independently

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 482 200 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Engineering within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

The position is subject to external funding.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

The application must include : 

  • CV, certificates and diplomas 
  • transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's and master's degrees. If you have not completed the master's degree, you must submit a confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted. 
  • A copy of the master's thesis. If you recently have submitted your master's thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed master's degree must be presented before taking up the position.  
  • Name and address of three referees 
  • If you have publications or other relevant research work 

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor's and master's education, in addition to other higher education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates.

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

General information

Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. 

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

In accordance with The Public Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

Questions about the position can be directed to Professor Quang Khanh Tran, phone number: +47 735 93 625, e-mail:; Associate Professor Tian Li, phone number: +47 735 92 696, email:; or Dr. Roger Khalil, phone number: +47 402 31 550, email: If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Ingrid Wiggen, e-mail:

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI).

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number IV-166/21when applying.

Application deadline: 28.07.21

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Energy and Process Engineering

We conduct research and teaching covering the entire energy chain, from resources to the end-user. We look at how energy is produced and used by humans and machines in a sustainable way with regard to health, climate change and the resource base. The Department of Energy and Process Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline 28th July 2021
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Department of Energy and Process Engineering


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