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PhD Position PUR ChemCycling

Job description

Recent publicity around disproportionate plastic litter has animated societal discussion on plastic recycling and circularity, which resulted in numerous reports and initiatives on plastic waste recycling. 

PUR is an important polymer for Shell, particularly the flexible PUR foams applied e.g. in mattresses. But PUR is also challenging for recyclers. Being a thermoset, PUR is not amenable to melting and reprocessing. This limits mechanical recycling to chipping to small pieces for use as filler in new products. Chemical recycling is also challenging. Hydrolysis, alcoholysis, and aminolysis processes have been developed to recover the polyol. However, the diisocyanate component is often discarded as waste or used as filler for new lower-grade materials. 

We propose here to explore depolymerization approaches that allow full recovery and valorization of the PUR components, i.e. the polyols as well as the diisocyanate. We want to regenerate the diisocyanate without using toxic and hazardous phosgene.

It concerns a project financed by Shell Global Solutions, Amsterdam (Prof. dr. J.-P. Lange, part-time professor at the Univ. of Twente). The research will be carried out in close collaboration with the ‘Sustainable process technology’ group (Prof. dr. S.R.A. Kersten, UT) where another PhD student is involved in the integrated process elements.

Your profile

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD student with interest in organic chemistry who likes to work on a multidisciplinary, applied project in a stimulating, international environment. An MSc degree in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering is required by the time of employment. You are a collaborative and proactive person, a team player and you want to become a scientific expert and independent researcher.

Our offer

We offer a contract for 4 years. Salary and conditions will be in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) of the Dutch Universities.

Information and application

For further information and contact (but do not send your application here; applications sent by email will not be considered; apply through the UT website as described above):

Prof. dr. ir. Jurriaan Huskens, tel. 053-4892995, e-mail: j.huskens@utwente.nl

Dr. Willem Verboom, tel. 053-4892977, e-mail: w.verboom@utwente.nl

Website Molecular Nanofabrication (MnF) group: www.utwente.nl/tnw/mnf/

About the department

The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which drives change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. The University of Twente has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.
We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

About the organization

TNW Faculty (Faculty of Science & Technology)

The Faculty of Science & Technology (Technische Natuurwetenschappen, TNW) engages some 700 staff members and 2000 students in education and research on the cutting edge of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Our fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. As part of a people-first tech university that aims to shape society, individuals and connections, our faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad, and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. Our research has a high profile both in the Netherlands and internationally and is strengthened by the many young researchers working on innovative projects with as doctoral candidates and post-docs. It has been accommodated in three multidisciplinary UT research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centre and Digital Society Institute.

University of Twente (UT)

University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology' we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT's departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

As an employer, University of Twente offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With us, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customisable conditions.

PhD Position PUR ChemCycling
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