Postdoc in Sustainability Assessment of Chemical Processes

Tuesday 23 Mar 21

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DTU Management’s Section for Quantitative Sustainability Assessment (QSA) covers research and development of scientifically based engineering methods for decision support for assessing sustainability performance of products and technologies. The research is positioned at the interface between natural sciences and engineering-based decision-support. A particular focus area is research and development of methods for quantifying the environmental sustainability associated with anthropogenic activities and the use of technologies, products, and services.

The field of research is within sustainability assessment, in particular life cycle assessment (LCA) and techno-economic assessment (TCA) of chemical processes. You will contribute to research to quantify potential environmental and economic impacts of innovative chemical products and technologies (i.e., pyrolysis of waste and catalytic upgrading and hydrogenation of pyrolysis oils for production of hydrocarbon feedstock for refineries and fuels for marine transport).

Responsibilities
The position will be part of the project CircFuel (“Achieving Circular Economy: Pyrolysis of waste into synthetic fuel at cement plants”) funded by the Innovation Fund Denmark. The project gathers both technology developers (including producers of pyrolysis installations, developers of catalysts, etc.) and end-users (including producers of large two-stroke engines). Your work with therefore contribute to advancing the field of life cycle assessment (LCA) applied to chemical processes. Specifically, you will assess whether the obtained liquid fuels are competitive and lead to improved environmental performance for the entire value chain: waste management, cement plants, in the marine sector and in the oil refinery supply sector.

Key activities include:

  • Mapping and evaluation of available global waste streams considering, among other, environmental performance of incumbent waste management systems
  • Collection of relevant environmental and economic data from industry partners and development of unit process inventories, including their parameterization and quantification of inventory uncertainties, for relevant processes in the value chain
  • System modelling of the new fuels and new hydrocarbon feedstock using dedicated modelling software (e.g., SimaPro) considering, among other, differences between different pyrolysis routes and the incumbent waste management systems
  • Application of state-of-the-art life cycle impact assessment methods, including dissipation-oriented methods four accounting for resource use impacts and other new methods developed in the division
  • Evaluation of techno-economic feasibility of the new fuels and new hydrocarbon feedstock production routes using dedicated modelling software (e.g., Aspen Plus)
  • Comparison of environmental and economic sustainability performance of the new products with conventional fuels and conventional feedstocks
  • Publication of high-impact (IF>5) papers in relevant scientific journals

In total, 6 industry partners and two research groups from 1 academic partner (DTU), are involved. You will therefore collaborate with partners who are highly motivated to show that cement plants can efficiently and sustainably produce valuable hydrocarbons, achieving circular economy.

You will also collaborate with several researchers from the QSA Section at DTU (e.g., ongoing development and application of life cycle impact assessment methods), and likely co-supervise master thesis projects. You will become part of an energetic and dynamic research environment within the field of quantitative sustainability assessment.

Qualifications
You must have a PhD degree in either chemical engineering or life cycle assessment and demonstrate a strong expertise in specific scientific areas relevant to the project scope and objectives (see above details). In particular, skills in data handling and system modelling will be required for building of LCI and evaluation of feedstocks in a systematic and consistent way. Likewise knowledge and expertise in LCA and TCA will be required. Experience with pyrolysis technologies is valuable, but not considered indispensable.

A high motivation for analytical research, strong ambitions and interest in addressing sustainability challenges in the chemical industry, and excellent communication skills in English are essential for a successful application.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and terms of employment
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years. 

You can read more about career paths at DTU here

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Professor Michael Hauschild (mzha@dtu.dk) and Senior Researcher Mikolaj Owsianiak (miow@dtu.dk).

Information about the Section for Quantitative Sustainability Assessment (QSA) is available at www.sustainability.man.dtu.dk/english/Research/QSA/Research and 
about DTU Management at www.man.dtu.dk/english.

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 15 April 2021 (Danish time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • Application (cover letter)
  • CV
  • Academic Diplomas (MSc/PhD)
  • List of publications

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Management conducts excellent research in the intersection between management, technology and economics. We develop solutions in close cooperation with companies and public authorities. Our research aims at strengthening welfare, productivity and sustainability within the society. A key element is the role of technology and its interaction with industry and individuals. The department’s research is divided in four divisions: Innovation, Management Science, Sustainability and Transport. Furthermore, the department hosts a UN Collaborating Centre. The UN DTU Partnership conducts research, policy analysis and advising on a global scale. The department offers a wide range of courses and programs at bachelor, master and PhD level across DTU’s study programs. DTU Management employs about 300 people. We offer an international environment with around 50 different nationalities represented at the department.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,000 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.