PhD position: Three-phase-bioreactor scalability and Anaerobic Digestion-retrofitting analysis.

AgRefine - A Disruptive Innovative Cooperative Entrepreneurial (DICE) education, training and skills development programme rolling out the next generation of Agri Biorefinery and Valorisation Bioeconomy leaders.

The goal of the AgRefine Network is to train PhD students to become the bioeconomy leaders of tomorrow with the necessary skills and knowledge to position Europe as the global leader in developing an agri-bioeconomy industry based on advanced biorefinery technologies. The AgRefine integrated training programme will facilitate the amelioration of Europe’s agri-sector competitiveness and environmental sustainability challenges by creating new and optimising current agri-resource and agri-waste valorisation pathways. AgRefine will achieve this by bringing together a world-class consortium with experts from 5 European Universities (with expertise in biorefinery technology, engineering, life cycle assessment, economics), 1 applied research institute, 8 industry partners (from engineering, anaerobic digestion and biorefinery industries), 1 regulatory body and 1 industry network representing 6 countries. The goals of the network will be achieved by a unique combination of “hands-on” research training, non-academic placements, summer schools and workshops on research-related and transferable skills facilitated by the academic and non-academic composition of the consortium. An important element of the training network is the Network wide training events and industry secondments and the emphasis on training all PhD students in key transferable skills.

Project 10: Three-phase-bioreactor scalability and Anaerobic Digestion-retrofitting analysis

Three-phase-bioreactor scalability and Anaerobic Digestion-retrofitting analysis.

The retrofitting of existing Anaerobic Digestion (AD) reactors requires that existing AD units to be synergistically integrated as AgRefine’s Three-Phase-Bioreactor’s 2nd phase reactors. However, AD configurations vary significantly with regard to geometries of mixers, power input requirements, feedstock rheology, fermenter geometry (size and presence of baffles etc.) and gas productivity. To find cost effective and optimally operated retrofitting, nowadays modelling is preferably applied to predict and quantify possible achievements before any pilot or full-scale deployment can be

commissioned. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) which allows the time-resolved calculation of 3D flow fields to analyse local velocities, turbulence, pressure, concentration, shear rate dependent viscosity effects, local reaction rates and more will be implemented to achieve this.

Initially based in TUW and under the supervision of Prof. Harasek with input from Mr. Mandl (TBWR), the successful candidate will:

  • Learn opensource CFD modelling focussing on the computation of large-scale AD reactors,
  • Develop and implement modelling concepts based on DoE to improve the geometric design and to find optimal operating conditions under design constraints e.g. with regard to retrofitting,
  • Be seconded to European Biogas Association (Belgium) to gather process data on existing AD systems,
  • Stay with Enviro-Eye Engineering (Ireland) under the supervision of Mr. Galvin to learn about the application of “Energy Efficient Design” according to IS399/ISO50001 standards,
  • Disseminate an open source CFD toolbox for the flow investigation of the TPB systems.

Relevant disciplines; The candidate must have a Master level degree in chemical engineering, physics, mechanical engineering or related discipline. Experience and interest in experimental fluid dynamics, computational fluid dynamics and/or C/C++ programming is desired.

Researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Austria for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date.

Closing date: 10th July 2020

Expected start date: August 2020 - September 2020

Apply now!