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Do you want to contribute to practical solutions to a pressing environmental problem while you are paid to gain a scientific qualification? These PhD and postdoctoral positions will be created in an established sustainability research centre, funded by new research projects. They are dedicated to supporting the transition to a climate friendly and non-toxic society by assessing potential alternative engineered systems.

1) Recycling carbon in mixed waste streams from a life cycle perspective
The new postdoctoral researcher will work at the interface between environmental science and aspects of urban carbon metabolism in two Formas-funded projects. The first of these is about predicting the flow of dissolved and suspended fossil carbon in urban wastewater using material flux analysis methods, which impacts the sustainability of recycling processes for wastewater treatment byproducts. The second concerns the recycling of used textiles, which is challenging on account of the combination of different polymer materials with different chemistries. It has to be asked whether recycling will generate overall environmental benefits in terms of indicators such as carbon footprints and toxic emissions of if "the medicine is worse than the cure".  In that case life cycle assessment can inform process designers regarding improvement opportunities.

2) Environmental assessment of carbon capture and utilization
In a world in which the impacts on the climate due to human activities are increasingly apparent, a transition to an economy that leads to decreased greenhouse gas emissions has become a necessity. The aim of the EU-funded PyroCO2 project is to demonstrate carbon capture and utilization (CCU) at a larger/demonstration scale. In the PyroCO2 project, a consortium of universities, companies and public organizations from all over Europe, aims to create knowledge for the design and development of a CCU demonstration plant where climate-positive acetone is produced from industrial CO2 and green hydrogen. Acetone is a platform chemical that subsequently can be used for the production of a plethora of other chemicals and materials. The demonstration plant will be constructed during the project. Environmental and techno-economic assessments are of importance to make decisions that lead to an economically viable and environmentally benign design of the demonstration plant and the value chain of which it is a part.

3) Elimination of persistent mobile substances in a life cycle perspective
Researchers, NGOs and government regulators are increasingly concerned by the presence of "forever chemicals" in the environment, and particularly those that are both highly persistent and mobile in the environment. PFAS, which includes fluorinated chemicals that have been popular for waterproofing outdoor wear, are perhaps the most famous example of these. Chalmers is part of a large European project called ZeroPM, which aims to eliminate the threat of persistent mobile chemicals by integrating the concept of "essential uses" in policy and identifying alternatives for uses that are considered non-essential. Additionally, it recognises the existence of many environments where remediation is needed to clean up groundwater to make it suitable for drinking and environmental purposes. The question with all such substitutions and technology selection questions is: which is best for the environment?

Major responsibilities
Position 1 (postdoc):
The successful candidate will liaise with experts in subjects such as water engineering and environmental policy. Information gained from this dialogue and interrogation of the SPIN database will inform material flux assessments and improvements in how fossil carbon is assessed in a life cycle framework. In the other project on alternative recycling systems developed with Sweden's premier research institute RISE, we aim to also generate carbon footprints and additionally ensure that other potential toxicants from such systems are rigorously accounted for in a life cycle framework. This will mean dialogue with process engineers, process modelling work and consideration of potential need to develop better characterisation factors for toxicants.

Position 2 (PhD):
You will conduct research that guides the design and development of a carbon capture and utilization process with assessments of environmental impacts. Using life cycle assessments (LCA), you will assess design choices suggested by the partners in the PyroCO2 project at various stages of development. The early development phase involves significant uncertainties regarding the future conditions, and accounting for such uncertainties in the assessments is crucial. You will thus contribute to developing methodology for prospective assessments. You will also contribute to further method development to assess positive impacts.  This work will naturally involve collaboratin with researchers from varied disciplinary backgrounds.

Position 3 (PhD):
The successful candidate will liaise with researchers from several European countries who are experts in subjects such as toxicology, water engineering and environmental policy. Information gained from this dialogue and examination of published literature will inform improvements in how toxicants are assessed in a life cycle framework. These developments are also of particular relevance for Position 1 (above). With the improved framework, the successful candidate will use desktop approaches to examine alternative scenarios for the substitution of persistent mobile substances, and consider their relative sustainability from a life cycle perspective. The candidate will also use these methods to investigate alternative land and water remediation technologies that have the capacity to deal with prior contamination, and use the framework to determine which technologies are environmentally preferable from a holistic point of view.

For more information and how to apply, please read here

Application deadline: 24 October, 2021

Detta är en jobbannons med titeln "PhD students and Postdoc positions in Environmental Systems Analysis" hos företaget Chalmers Tekniska Högskola AB och publicerades på workey.se den 22 september 2021 klockan 09:18.

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