Postgraduate research opportunities

Atomic/molecular insights into the formation of valuable products from waste biomass

Quantum Chemistry and Molecular Dynamics calculations will be carried out to explore the mechanism and kinetics of lignocellulosic biomass processing and the conversion of waste into valuable products.

Number of places



Home fee, Stipend


10 April 2019


3 years


Applications are invited from candidates who have achieved, or are predicted, a first class or upper second class honours in Chemical Engineering/Chemistry, or an equivalent qualification at Masters level. Experience in Computational modelling, Quantum Chemistry calculations, or Molecular Dynamics modelling would be advantageous.

Project Details

Lignocellulosic biomass is a green alternative fossil resource to produce fuels (e.g. transport fuel, aviation fuel) and value-added products (e.g. light olefins, gases, liquid chemicals). The formation of these products through routes such as pyrolysis and gasification is more advanced rather than traditional burning thus it is promising to address societal demands for ‘green energy’ and sustainability. However, the complicated operating system and inefficient conversion rate largely limit the industrialisation of this process. Within this project, high-efficient solutions are expected to be provided by investigating the mechanism insights of the formation process of these products.

Quantum Chemistry and Molecular Dynamics calculations will be carried out to explore the mechanism and kinetics of the process of converting waste into valuable products. This innovated project is ideally suited to students with the creativity and motivation to solve engineering problems using scientific-based principles. The student may expect to build his/her career in the area of bioenergy, sustainable energy and green chemistry.

The applicant will work closely with collaborators from UK and abroad (e.g. China) and will be expected to participate in relevant national and international conferences, and develop journal papers within the research field.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Funding Details

Excellent candidates may be considered for a University scholarship. This PhD project is also offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with their own funding, or those applying to funding sources. The proposed start date is October 1st 2019.


Primary Supervisor - Dr Xiaolei Zhang


Contact us

Ms Jacqueline Brown

+44(0) 141 574 5319

James Weir Building, 75 Montrose Street, Glasgow, G1 1XJ


How to apply

Apply for this PhD project here.

Please quote the project title in your application.