PhD position -Alkane/alkene separation by silver-containing molecular sieves

Context & Job description

Project title: Understanding the microscopic mechanism for the industry relevant ethene/ethane and propene/propane separations by silver-containing molecular sieves

The separation of ethene and propene from other hydrocarbons, that is required for the production of many chemicals and polymers, is actually carried out by the cryogenic distillation. The high energy demand of this technology makes desirable the development of new processes, being the zeolites based separation the most promising. This alternative route takes advantage of the molecular sieving properties of zeolites and the possibility of tuning their polarity.

One approach to adjust the polar character of silicoaluminate zeolites is by the presence of cations in the voids channels and cavities. Here, we propose to study the interaction of alkenes (ethene and propene) adsorbed on Ag-zeolites with different Si/Al ratio and silver loading. We will follow a multidisciplinary approach combining Inelastic Neutron Spectroscopy with theoretical calculations, solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and X-ray absorption (XAS) studies for understanding the mechanism of alkene-zeolite interaction in cation containing zeolites.

The information will be of high interest for developing new processes decreasing the energy consumption in the actual separation processes, which is of great industrial interest what has motivated the collaboration of CEPSA in the project. You will join the Spectroscopy group at the ILL and the INS experiments will be mainly performed on the Neutron Vibrational Spectrometer Lagrange.

Further information may be obtained from Mónica Jiménez-Ruiz (tel.: +33 (0)4 76 20 71 44, email: jimenez@ill.fr) and from Teresa Blasco (+34 963 87 78 12, email: tblasco@itq.upv.es)

Expected profile

  • Degree allowing enrollment for a PhD (such as MSc, Master 2 de Recherche, Laurea or equivalent) in physics, materials science, chemistry or closely related science
  • A background in experimentation is desirable, and knowledge of scintillation and crystal growth would be an advantage
  • Manual skills and rigorous attention to detail are essential in this work environment
  • Proficiency in English  (A proof of upper-intermediate level would be advantageous and can be provided in the application. Applicants originating from native-English-speaking countries can apply without the need for proof of level. An official degree conducted in English will be also accepted as a proof; Students without proof upper-intermediate level may still apply and their level of English will be checked during the interview.)
  • Compliance with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie mobility rule: candidates may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than twelve months in the three years immediately before the date of recruitment.
  • At the date of recruitment, early-stage researchers must be in the first four years of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • Candidates must satisfy the conditions for enrollment in a doctoral programme

More details about the application procedure on www.innovaxn.eu/for-students/documents/

Working conditions

The successful candidate will be enrolled in the doctoral school of (Universidad Politècnica de València, Spain) and based full-time at the ILL (Grenoble, France), other than a 3-month secondment at CEPSA. Additional visits totaling no more than 3 months may be made to the Institute of Chemical Technology, ITQ, Valencia, when needed. Furthermore, a varied pedagogical training programme will be offered to the successful candidate throughout the 3-year PhD project.

More details on the InnovaXN programme on www.innovaxn.eu

Company description

InnovaXN is a Horizon 2020 MSCA COFUND programme providing an opportunity for 40 industrial companies to work with 40 PhD students, performing advanced research and exploiting the unique characterisation techniques of the ESRF and ILL. Through collaborations with industry, innovation will be the central theme of the programme. This will provide a unique cross academic-industry science setting, secondment opportunities and society-relevant research, training the future key researchers able to tackle major research and societal challenges.

The equal opportunity policies of the ESRF and ILL have been in place for many years. These policies focus on gender balance, cultural diversity and inclusion of disabled staff.

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