Do you want to work in an interdisciplinary project with a prospective, future energy technology with exciting possibilities? Large-scale production of biochar would allow for co-generation of heat, power and other energy and environmental services with net negative greenhouse gas emissions. This project focuses on assessing the value of this technology in different contexts, such as its usefulness in energy systems of different scales and impact on climate and other environmental key indicators.

Information about the research and the divisions
Negative greenhouse gas emissions will be needed to fulfill global and national emission targets. Bio-Energy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) has been discussed as a possible Negative Emission Technology (NET) for many years, but time has shown that it is associated with several societal barriers (e.g. infrastructure for CO2 transport and storage, public acceptance). If biochar was used as carbon sink rather than CO2 many of these barriers could potentially be avoided. Biochar could be used e.g. as soil enhancement, where a half-life in the order of 1000 years can be expected.

Cogeneration of biochar and heat by slow pyrolysis in rotary kiln reactors is industrially proven technology. About half of the total biogenic carbon is obtained in the char. The other half of the heating-value-based energy content are with the volatiles and could be used to generate heat, power or other products. Rotary kilns work well at small scale but are hardly feasible as large utility plants.

The objective of this project is to examine fluidized-bed pyrolysis in connection to ordinary fluidized-bed boilers as a potentially scalable future technology for biochar production. This is done by applying process modelling, techno-economic evaluation and prospective life cycle assessment. This will be done in an interdisciplinary setting that involves experts in process modelling, energy conversion in fluidized bed reactors and life cycle assessment. The expected output will be an improved understanding about challenges involved, as well as and expected performance with respect to energy efficiency, material flows, process economy and environmental indicators. The project is interdisciplinary and involves the Division of Environmental Systems Analysis (ESA) and the Division of Energy Technology (ET).

ESA conducts research to find more sustainable technology solutions and ways to transform technology systems to better meet the environmental and resource constraints faced by society. Our work requires cross-disciplinary efforts; this is reflected in the makeup of our research group as well as in the range of scientific journals in which our research is published. The division has a long engagement in life-cycle assessment, risk assessment and various environmental flow methods. Approaches of flow methods from a social science perspective, innovation systems and transition studies complete the research strategy. Our areas of expertise are unified through a common systems-based approach. ESA also offer courses closely related to our research. The division has around 40 staff and faculty members and broad expertise, including engineers and researchers in both the physical and political sciences.

ET conducts research and education in the areas energy technology and energy systems. The division focuses on combustion and gasification of biomass, technologies for carbon dioxide avoidance, energy transformation and sustainable energy systems. A considerable part of the divisions research is experimental but also systems-level projects with in-depth research on energy transformation processes are conducted. The division employs about 80 staff and has access to a large industrial network and significant experimental infrastructure.

Major responsibilities
As post-doc your main responsibility is to conduct research that assesses future technology for biochar production from an environmental and economic point-of-view. You are expected to work with a high degree of independence, while still being capable of close collaboration with other researchers and external partners when needed. You should be able to communicate scientific results to different stakeholders, both orally at meetings and conferences and in written form as scientific articles.

Position summary
Full-time temporary employment. The position is limited to a maximum of two years (1+1).

By the starting date, you should have a PhD in a subject relevant for the project content; the degree should generally not be older than three years. It is important that you have some knowledge of and experience in the use of Process Modeling Software (e.g. Aspen Plus) and of Life Cycle Assessment. Excellent writing and communication skills in English are required. Experience of techno-economic modeling of industrial or energy conversion plants, thermal energy conversion processes, biomass energy applications, industrial environments and programming are meritorious.

Chalmers continuously strives to be an attractive employer. Equality and diversity are substantial foundations in all activities at Chalmers.

Our offer to you
Chalmers offers a cultivating and inspiring working environment in the dynamic city of Gothenburg
Read more about working at Chalmers and our benefits for employees.

Application procedure
The application should be marked with Ref 20200441 and written in English. The application should be sent electronically and be attached as pdf-files, as below:

CV: (Please name the document as: CV, Surname, Ref. number) including:
• CV, include complete list of publications
• Previous teaching and pedagogical experiences
• Two references that we can contact.

Personal letter: (Please name the document as: Personal letter, Family name, Ref. number)
1-3 pages where you:
• Introduce yourself
• Describe your previous research fields and main research results
• Describe your future goals and future research focus

Other documents:
• Attested copies of completed education, grades and other certificates.

Please use the button at the foot of the page to reach the application form. The files may be compressed (zipped).

Application deadline: 31 October, 2020

For questions, please contact:
Associate professor Matty Janssen, Environmental Systems Analysis
Phone: +46 31 7728602

Associate Professor Magnus Rydén, Energy Technology
Phone: + 46 31 7721457

*** Chalmers declines to consider all offers of further announcement publishing or other types of support for the recruiting process in connection with this position. *** 

Chalmers University of Technology conducts research and education in engineering sciences, architecture, technology-related mathematical sciences, natural and nautical sciences, working in close collaboration with industry and society. The strategy for scientific excellence focuses on our six Areas of Advance; Energy, Health Engineering, Information and Communication Technology, Materials Science, Production and Transport. The aim is to make an active contribution to a sustainable future using the basic sciences as a foundation and innovation and entrepreneurship as the central driving forces. Chalmers has around 11,000 students and 3,000 employees. New knowledge and improved technology have characterised Chalmers since its foundation in 1829, completely in accordance with the will of William Chalmers and his motto: Avancez!