PhD Studentship in Integrated Biorefinery Products from Municipal Wastes and Residues

University of Southampton School of Engineering

United Kingdom

PhD Studentship in Integrated Biorefinery Products from Municipal Wastes and Residues

School of Engineering

Location:  Highfield Campus

Closing Date:  Monday 31 August 2020

Reference:  1267120DA

Supervisory Team:    Dr Yue Zhang, Dr Yongqiang Liu, Prof Sonia Heaven

Project description

There is growing awareness of the need to maximise carbon recycling from lignocellulosic wastes as an alternative to utilising virgin agricultural and forestry biomass sources as the starting point for biorefinery operations. Equally, for biorefineries to succeed they must develop the capability to satisfy bulk product markets rather than concentrating solely on specialist high-value materials. The current research will contribute to the development of the 'dirty' biorefinery concept in which large-scale fermentation processes are not dependent on strict aseptic culture techniques. A substantial body of work has already been carried out, within the research group and elsewhere, to develop a biorefinery sugar platform using fibre recovered from municipal solid waste (MSW). The current project will consider further products that can be produced from sugars manufactured in this way, including traditional and novel fermentations (e.g. butanol, succinic and dicarboxylic acids), with a special emphasis on full integration of the process stream leading from the starting materials to the final product. The work will combine practical laboratory investigation with desk-based analyses using process integration tools and concepts in order to establish the technical and economic feasibility of the alternative process routes.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Prof Sonia Heaven, Water and Environmental Engineering Research Group, Email:

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2020 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: full tuition fees for EU/UK students plus for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £15,285 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

How To Apply

Applications should be made online, please select the academic session 2020-21 “PhD Eng & Env (Full time)” as the programme. Please enter Sonia Heaven under the proposed supervisor.

Applications should include

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

For further information please contact: 

In your application, please refer to