PhD scholarship in Biological Biogas Upgrading and Enhancement

DTU Environment
Friday 06 Oct 17

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Apply no later than 23 October 2017
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The Department of Environmental Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Environment) advertises a fully funded 3-year PhD position within the project "BioUpgrade- Ex-situ biogas upgrading through biologically mediated CO2 reduction” funded by Energinet.

The PhD student will be placed in the Residual Resource Engineering Section, which focuses on sustainable management of waste materials and residual biomass from the municipal, industrial and agricultural sectors. This involves characterization of waste and biomass materials, technologies to recover material, nutrients and energy resources, management of reject fractions, measurement and control of greenhouse gas emissions, environmental and economic sustainability assessments, and optimization of microbial conversion processes (e.g. biofuels, bioproducts and biogas).

Responsibilities and tasks
The successful candidate will participate in a newly started project, which is proposing an innovative process in which hydrogen produced by water electrolysis using peak load/excess electricity from wind mills, will be biologically converted by binding CO2 to CH4.

More specifically, the project’s final goal is to develop an efficient and robust technology for biological ex-situ biogas upgrade, utilizing the indigenous hydrogenotrophic cultures of the anaerobic digestion process, and achieve a biogas methane concentration equivalent to natural gas (>95% CH4).

The candidate will focus primarily on:
  • Defining the optimum reactor configuration that will lead to a robust biogas up-grading process, maximizing the H2 utilization efficiency and CO2 conversion into CH4
  • Identification of the metabolic pathways during the anaerobic digestion food chain and deciphering the dynamics of microbial community composition and activity due to the effect from H2 addition to optimize the process efficiency and stability
  • Evaluating the process both in lab and pilot scale from a technological, environmental and economic perspective
The PhD candidate must have the following mandatory prerequisites:
  • Previous experience in anaerobic digestion
  • Proven laboratory experience with molecular biology and biochemistry
  • Strong work ethic and motivation to succeed within a competitive research field
  • Good communication skills
  • Talent for scientific writing
  • Excellent written and spoken English
Previous experience with biological biogas upgrading technologies will be considered as an advantage.

Read more about DTU’s job and career structure for scientific staff.

Candidates should have a master's degree in engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in engineering.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

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 an academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

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

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Senior Researcher Panagiotis Kougias, tel.: +45 45251454, email:

You can read more about DTU Environment on

Please submit your online application no later than 23 October 2017.

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:
  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

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

DTU Environment is one of the largest university departments specializing in environmental engineering in Europe. DTU was recently ranked #7 worldwide in the Shanghai Rankings in Environmental Science & Engineering.
DTU Environment conducts research and development, and provides educational programs and service to society in the area of engineering of water in natural, urban and industrial contexts, processing and recovery of residual resources, environmental risk assessment and chemical risk reduction. The aim is to develop new environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies, and to disseminate this knowledge to society and a new generation of engineers. The Department has approximately 185 staff from more than 30 nationalities.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 11,000 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.