Postdoc Positions to Develop Economic and Environmental Life-Cycle Frameworks for Power-to-Protein

University of Tubingen


2 postdoc positions to develop economic and environmental
life-cycle frameworks for power-to-protein

The research group of Environmental Biotechnology in the Center for Applied Geosciences at
the University of Tübingen ( is looking for two excellent postdoctoral
researchers to support our international, interdisciplinary, and dynamic team of
environmental/biological/systems engineers, microbiologists, biotechnologists, and
molecular biologists.

The research in the Environmental Biotechnology group focuses on the recovery of carbon
from diverse waste streams by open, defined-mixed, and pure microbial cultures. Examples of
utilized platforms include: 1) syngas fermentation and power-to-x to recover carbon from
industrial waste gases into chemicals; 2) chain elongation of ethanol and acetate or lactate to
extractable medium-chain carboxylic acids; 3) storage of electric power via power-to-gas with
microbial systems, such as with methanogenic archaea; and 4) single-cell protein production
from carbon dioxide and hydrogen and oxygen gases, which we refer to as power-to-protein.
We apply methods from bioreactor design and operation (lab- and pilot-scale), genetic
engineering, systems biology, and systems engineering such as life-cycle assessments and
techno-economic evaluations.

Qualified candidates would ideally have a doctoral degree in systems engineering, chemical
engineering, process modelling, biotechnology, or related fields. The candidate should be able
to develop detailed process models of renewable energy systems and/or apply computational
methods for multi-objective optimizations using economic and environmental life-cycle
frameworks. In addition, the candidate should have hands-on experience with applying
systems analysis and GIS techniques for value-chain optimization and resource mapping. This
project will involve close collaborations within our group, but also with research groups from
other German research institutions, including bioprocess engineers and researchers within the
biotechnology field.

The project will focus on a biotechnological approach to radically change the way our societies
produce protein for human consumption. Current agricultural practices to produce protein
must be disbanded to save our planet. The current agricultural practices simply use too much
land, water, and fossil fuels to feed a future 10 billion people. In this power-to-protein system,
hydrogen and oxygen from electrolysis (water splitting) with renewable energy is combined
with carbon dioxide in a 2-step bioprocess to produce protein. In the first step, hydrogen and
carbon dioxide gases are converted into acetate with anaerobic bacteria, and in the second
step, the dilute acetate is converted with oxygen gas into yeast biomass with approximately
45-65% protein. The growth nutrients, such as ammonium, will come from the safe recycling
of wastes from humans. The main activity of the candidates will be to either: 1) use detailed
process modelling to further optimize this power-to-protein technology at a process level; or
2) apply multi-objective optimization and life-cycle modelling methods to evaluate
power-toprotein technology implemented over multiple geospatial scales. In the application, the
candidate should indicate which of these two activities they prefer to engage in.

The successful candidate is expected to be involved in managing the project, which includes
the supervision of bachelor and master students. Furthermore, she/he will closely interact
with collaboration partners. Therefore, very good English language skills are necessary. Other
requirements include the ability to work independently and in teams, have excellent
management and communication skills, and be self-motivated. The candidate will have the
opportunity to present her/his results in international journals and conferences.
The positions are intended to be filled as soon as possible. Each contract is for 1.5 years and
the employment will be arranged by the administration of the University of Tübingen (salary
TVL E13, 100%). The adjustment takes place via the ZV. The University of Tübingen is seeking
to increase the proportion of women in science and teaching, and therefore we are especially
asking qualified women to apply. Disabled persons will be preferred in case of equal

Applications (in English), as one pdf document, including cover letter, CV, overview of
techniques and methods used in the past, transcripts and diplomas, and contact address of at
least two referees should be sent by email to Applications will be
accepted until the position is filled.

Prof. Lars Angenent

Environmental Biotechnology Group, Center for Applied Geosciences, University of Tübingen.

In your application, please refer to