(English) Bio plastics from C1 Gases– Substitute Sustainable Products for Polymer Coated Steel (PhD Scholarship)

Bio plastics from C1 Gases– Substitute Sustainable Products for Polymer Coated Steel

Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science at the University of South Wales

Project ID: 21491
Annual Stipend: circa £14 k p.a.
Application Deadline: 
20th January 2019

PhD wedi’i gyllido yw hwn, sy’n cynnwys cyflog hael a ffioedd dysgu, gydag amgylchiadau sydd â digon o adnoddau ar gyfer ysgoloriaeth lwyddiannus. This is a funded PhD, including a generous stipend and tuition fees, with well-resourced circumstances for a successful scholarship.

Here is an exciting opportunity to study the production of biopolymers from C1 gases which could lead to entirely new approaches in sustainable biomaterials.

The selected candidate will apply their microbial and biochemical skills and ambition to the development of novel biochemical and fermentation technologies. This biotechnology project, will allow the student to develop transferable knowledge and skills in this most exciting and active field of low carbon research.

This Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS) project will be held in the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science at the University of South Wales. KESS is a programme funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) awarded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) in the Welsh Government. The PhD will be associated with Research Council research projects on carbon capture and reuse. The project will focus on carbon capture with reuse and the development of sustainable materials for the circular economy.

The project is backed by Tata Steel UK Ltd., who are one of the world’s most innovative steel making companies. The successful candidate will work closely with process advisors from Tata Steel’s Port Talbot works and will join an existing group of KESS PhD students within the Sustainable Environment Research Centre, working on related innovative PhD projects sponsored by Tata Steel.

Programme of research:

C1-carbon is present in very large quantities in waste gases produced from the steel industry, in the form of CO, CO2 and CH4. These gases all contribute to the greenhouse effect, so there are significant financial and environmental benefits to capturing, converting and re-using the carbon from these sources in other areas of steelmaking, such as in the manufacturing organic coatings for steels. These organic polymer coatings are essential to increase the longevity of a large number of steel consumer and industrial, however to date most of these products are still based on traditional fossil hydrocarbon-based technology. There is increasing interest in the use of microbial processes to convert carbon rich gases to useful products to achieve the objective of carbon reduction. However most of the current state of the art is limited to converting these gases to relatively short chain organic molecules such as acetate or ethanol and not the longer chain molecules require for use as polymers. The polymers are organic based carriers that chemically surround the pigment particles, which provide the material with colour, opacity and corrosion protection.

The two major academic challenges to be addressed in this proposal are 1) Microbial conversion of C1 gases to 3, 4 or 5 carbon molecules and 2) The conversion of these elongated molecules to coating polymers. The applicants have considerable expertise in converting C1 gases to chemical intermediates, extracting them and converting them to biopolymers. This expertise will be built upon in converting C1 gases to alternative 3, 4 or 5 carbon platform chemicals such as propionate, butyrate or valerate. To achieve this, direct selection of mixed microbial cultures for longer chain molecules will be developed. To aid in chain elongation, electrochemical supplementation will also be investigated.

Bioderived polymers based on the linear polyester polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) will be formulated to mimic the current range of polymer coatings used by Tata. This polymer has been selected as it can be biologically produced using a range of waste products, is biodegradable but is relatively UV resistant and is a thermoplastic. These will be tested and compared to existing polymer coating formulations. A range of PHA compounds will be produced by altering the feedstock composition, fermentation conditions and formulation ratios used in the fermentation and in the product formulation. 

Ysgoloriaeth ymchwil:

Bydd yr ysgoloriaeth ymchwil yn cynnwys ffioedd ar gyfer rhaglen PhD llawn-amser am flwyddyn ac yn talu cyflog o oddeutu £14k y flwyddyn. Mae hefyd tua £9k o gostau cymorth ar gael i’r prosiect ar gyfer treuliau, teithio, mân offer, hyfforddiant (gan gynnwys Ysgol Raddedig KESS) a mynychu cynadleddau.

Mae’r swydd ar gael o 1 Ebrill 2019.


The studentship will cover the fees for a full-time PhD programme and pay a stipend of circa £14k p.a. There is also around £9k project support costs available for consumables, travel, minor equipment, training (including the KESS Grad School) and conference attendance.

The position is available from 1st April 2019.

Cymhwyster Myfyrwyr:

I fod yn gymwys i gael ysgoloriaeth ymchwil KESS, mae’n rhaid:

·         cael cyfeiriad cartref yn yr ardal Dwyrain Cymru (manylion isod)* ar adeg cofrestru.

·         bod gennych hawl i ymgymryd â gwaith cyflogedig yn yr ardal Dwyrain Cymru* ar ôl cwblhau’r ysgoloriaeth.

·         bod y Brifysgol yn eich ystyried yn fyfyriwr ‘cartref’ neu ‘UE’ at ddibenion ffioedd dysgu yn unol â chanllawiau’r Brifysgol.

·         eich bod yn bodloni meini prawf mynediad Prifysgol De Cymru: gweler isod, cymwysterau a phrofiad a’r broses ymgeisio

*Dwyrain Cymru ardal yn cwmpasu:  Bro Morgannwg / Caerdydd / Casnewydd/ Sir Fynwy/ Powys/ Wrecsam/ Sir Y Fflint

Eligibility of Student:

To be eligible to hold a KESS studentship, you must:

·         have a home address in East Wales area (details below)* at the time of registration.

·         have the right to take up paid work in the East Wales area* on completion of the scholarship.

·         be classified by the University as ‘home’ or ‘EU’ for tuition fees purposes according to the University’s guidelines.

·         satisfy University of South Wales’s admissions criteria: see below, qualifications and experience and application process

*East Wales area covers:  Vale of Glamorgan / Cardiff/ Newport/ Monmouthshire/ Powys/ Wrexham/ Flintshire


Cymwysterau a phrofiad:

Bydd gan ymgeiswyr cymwys:

Qualifications and experience:

Eligible applicants will:

  • Have a degree (2i or higher) in an appropriate biochemical, chemical or  microbiological discipline.
  • Possess a reasonable understanding of biochemical processes
  • Be highly self-motivated, with capacity to learn and develop analytical chemistry  techniques
  • Have well-developed and positively collaborative interpersonal skills
  • Have an ability to deliver technical reports and communicate findings
  • Be willing to travel and work in industrial settings
Y Broses Ymgeisio:

I lawrlwytho’r pecyn ymgeisio, ewch i:  Pecyn Ymgeisio Cyfranogwr

Am unrhyw ymholiadau ynghylch cymhwysedd, cysylltwch â:  Tîm KESS, Gwasanaethau Ymchwil ac Arloesedd, Prifysgol De Cymru: kess@decymru.ac.uk Ffôn: 01443 482578

Ar gyfer ymholiadau anffurfiol neu ragor o wybodaeth am y rhaglen, cysylltwch â: Professor Richard Dinsdale (richard.dinsdale@decymru.ac.uk).

Rhagor o wybodaeth:


Application Process:

To download an application package, please visit:  Participant Application Package

For any queries on eligibility, please contact:  KESS Team at Research and Innovation Services, University of South Wales: kess@southwales.ac.uk  Tel: 01443 482578

For informal enquiries or further programme information, please contact: Professor/ Dr Name Surname (richard.dinsdale@southwales.ac.uk).

Further information at:


Dyddiad cau ar gyfer ceisiadau: 20 Ionawr 2019

Cynhelir cyfweliadau yn ystod yr wythnos yn dechrau (i’w gadarnhau)

Closing date for applications: 20th January 2019

Interviews will be held w/c (TBC)

Mae Ysgoloriaethau Sgiliau Economi Gwybodaeth (KESS) yn fenter sgiliau lefel uwch ar draws Cymru a arweinir gan Brifysgol Bangor ar ran y sector AU yng Nghymru. Fe’i cyllidir yn rhannol gan raglen Cronfa Gymdeithasol Ewropeaidd (ESF) Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer Dwyrain Cymru. Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS) is a pan-Wales higher-level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) programme for East Wales.

Please note: This scholarship is advertised subject to funding confirmation