Postdoctoral Research Associate in Alkane Upgrading
A PDRA post is available within the group of Dr Russell Taylor to support his 5 year EPSRC Manufacturing Fellowship (EP/R01213X/1). The post is available for 4 years, commencing October 2018 or soon after. The fellowship project aims to develop new catalytic materials and new bulk chemical manufacturing processes for the direct partial oxidation of methane and ethane to value added chemicals. This will be achieved through 1) the synthesis of well defined, base metal-exchanged zeolites with precise metal locations, 2) the determination of structure-function relationships from catalyst performance and 3) developing low cost, scalable routes to manufacturing new zeolite catalysts incorporating base metals. The project is supported by project partners, Johnson Matthey (JM) and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), who will provide guidance on aspects of technical and commercial application and process development.
The successful candidate will work alongside Dr Russell Taylor and another PhD student to deliver the goals of the project. This will involve: the modification of commercial zeolite materials through routine techniques (e.g. ion-exchange, incipient wetness impregnation) and non-routine techniques (e.g. organometallic grafting, metal vapour deposition); the synthesis of non-commercial zeolites and zeotypes; catalyst testing using batch autoclaves or a flow reactor with online analysis; stoichiometric/step-wise reactions of catalysts monitored by MAS NMR and DRIFTS; reaction mechanism elucidation using isotopically labelled reagents; the formation of extruded catalysts; catalyst and material characterisation. The successful candidate will also be expected to present results to project partners (JM and CPI) as appropriate, present results at international and national conferences and assist in the writing and publication of research articles and papers.
The applicant is expected to have obtained a PhD in a field appropriate to the project but must have extensive experience in the field of zeolite or zeotype science. The ideal candidate may have worked in the field of alkane activation and have substantial experience of zeolite characterisation (in particular MAS NMR and DRIFTS) and catalyst testing. Experience of working with extruded materials would be advantageous.