Opportunities

Postgraduate and postdoctoral opportunities for 2022 are listed below. Although most projects have bursaries attached to them, candidates are also encouraged to apply for and secure their own funding as far as possible.

Further to the application instructions detailed for each opportunity, postgraduate applicants must refer to the full application procedure detailed on the Postgraduate page.

Research carried out in the department falls within our research groups

Supervisors’ profiles and research interests can be viewed here

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Opportunities

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Techno-economics and Sustainability Assessment of Biorefineries

Position:

An opportunity for a postdoctoral researcher focused on the techno-economics and sustainability assessment of biomass conversion to energy, chemicals and materials is currently available. Candidates with a proven track record in chemical process design, process simulations such as AspenPlus®, techno-economic assessments of process technologies and Life Cycle Assessment of environmental impacts, are particularly encouraged to apply. Experience with carbon accounting, sustainability assessments and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions accouting would be an advantage. The position will focus on various types of (thermo)chemical and biochemical processes for the recovery of valuable products from various types of plant biomass, in research programs at the Department of Process Engineering and its collaborators. The fellowship is available for a minimum period of 12 (twelve) months, with a starting date of 1 February 2022, or shortly thereafter, and maybe renewed annually based on progress and the availability of funding. A minimum scholarship of ZAR400 000 per annum has been granted for the position and, provided that the necessary procedures are put in place, with will be awarded tax free. Please note that postdoctoral fellows are not appointed as employees and are therefore not eligible for employee benefits.

Research:

This research group is currently collaborating with industrial and academic partners on the assessment of alternative process options for the conversion of plant biomass into energy, chemicals and materials. Such technology developments require techno-economic, environmental impact and sustainability assessments, to identify preferred technology options as well as the required improvements in technological processes for industrial implementation.

  1. The postdoctoral researcher will be expected to contribute significantly to:
  2. Independently working on process simulations, GHG emissions and techno-economics for a range of process technologies for biomass valourisation
  3. Provide technical support to other researchers in the group working on similar projects
  4. Critical evaluation of existing technologies, and proposals for technical development to improve these.
  5. The publication of research outputs from current and previous projects
  6. Development of new areas of research within the research group.
  7. Writing new funding proposals to sustain research activities

Requirements:

A Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, obtained within the past five years, with a strong background in process simulations, techno-economics, and GHG or LCA assessments, as described above.

Applications:

A covering letter and curriculum vitae, including all research outputs and contact details of references, should be sent to: Prof Johann Görgens, Department of Process Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. jgorgens@sun.ac.za. See http://processengineering.sun.ac.za/ for more details on the department and Stellenbosch University.

Closing date for applications is 20 January 2022. The university reserves the right not to fill the position.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Data-driven process monitoring and control for the minerals industry

In the Machine Learning and Extractive Metallurgy research groups of the Department of Process Engineering at Stellenbosch University, a specific research focus is process monitoring and control for the mineral industry. Statistical and machine learning techniques are explored in the context of dynamic simulation and real-world case studies to investigate promising approaches for cost effective and sustainable operation of mineral processing circuits. The main role of the postdoctoral fellow will be to carry out research in data-driven process monitoring and control as applied to mineral processing case studies. This is achieved primarily through the identification of newly developed methods from various fields (e.g. neuroscience, robotics, etc.) through literature studies, followed by application and evaluation thereof in the minerals processing context by means of algorithm studies.

The full advert, detailing the position’s duties and responsibilities, and application requirements, can be downloaded here.

Queries and complete applications can be sent to Prof Tobi Louw

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Thermal Separations Technology

An opportunity for a post-doctoral researcher in the field of thermal separations technology at the Department of Process Engineering at Stellenbosch University is currently available. The focus of the position would be on thermodynamics, phase behaviour, distillation and/or extraction principles with particular focus on either high pressure/supercritical applications or low pressure thermodynamics and modelling thereof. The position will be awarded initially for a period of one year but may be extended based on performance and availability of funds.

The full advert, detailing the position’s duties and responsibilities, and application requirements, can be downloaded here.

Queries and complete applications can be sent to Prof Cara Schwarz

Doctoral Opportunities

PhD Opportunity: Data-driven process modelling of pyrometallurgical operations

Scope of Research: In the Extractive Metallurgy and Machine Learning research groups of the Department of Process Engineering at Stellenbosch University, a specific research focus is process monitoring and control for the minerals industry. Statistical and machine learning techniques are explored in the context of dynamic simulation and real-world case studies to investigate promising approaches for cost effective and sustainable operation of mineral processing circuits.

An industrially funded postgraduate opportunity at the PhD level is currently available within the research groups to work on data-driven process modelling of pyrometallurgical operations.

Host: The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Profs Tobi Louw, Guven Akdogan, and Steven Bradshaw.

Requirements and Recommendations: 

  • B.Eng in Chemical Engineering (or related field) with a very good academic record as well as an M.Eng in a relevant field.
  • Strong interest in mathematical modelling, statistics, and machine learning.
  • Experience in machine learning techniques such as multi-layer perceptron neural networks and deep learning.
  • Excellent programming skills (preferably in MATLAB and/or Python).
  • The ability to learn independently and take initiative.

Conditions of bursary: Please note that postgraduate students are not appointed as employees and their bursaries are awarded tax free. They are therefore not eligible for employee benefits.

Commencement of studies: Mid-February 2022

Application closing date: 10 January 2022

Enquiries: Please send your CV as well as a cover letter (briefly describing your interest in the project) to Prof Steven Bradshaw (smb@sun.ac.za).

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to make an appointment for this position.

PhD Opportunity: Optimum integration of desalination technologies in green hydrogen production plants

  • Location: Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch
  • Degree level: Doctoral degree in Chemical Engineering

The production of green hydrogen through electrolysis of water (utilising renewable energy, such as solar and wind) requires clean, demineralised water.  Large electrolysis plants that rely on the sea as source of water would, therefore, include desalination facilities. This project will entail a systematic techno-economic and practical assessment of the integration of desalination systems with electrolyser units, focussing on large-scale hydrogen production systems at the West Coast of South Africa.

The research work falls within the Water Technology theme of the Department of Process Engineering, and is closely aligned with the vision of future sustainability. These positions also offer postgraduate candidates significant exposure to the associated industries, providing networking opportunities.

Successful candidates will be required to start postgraduate studies in January 2022.

  • Requirements to apply: A research master’s degree from a reputable university, with previous experience in water treatment. Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents who display academic excellence.
  • Application documents: Cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least three academic references. Merge all documents into a single PDF and attach it to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be submitted to Mrs Mieke du Plessis at miekedup@sun.ac.za, or Prof André Burger at ajburger@sun.ac.za.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to make an appointment for this position.

PhD Opportunities: Sustainable (green) hydrogen production

  • Location: Department of Process Engineering or Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch
  • Degree level: Doctoral degree in Chemical Engineering (several positions available)

Several opportunities are available for postgraduate research at PhD level with a focus on the systems-level assessment of systems used for the production, storage, and distribution of sustainable (green) hydrogen produced from renewable energy resources.  As the costs of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar become cheaper and cheaper, and the world strives to combat climate change, green hydrogen will become a significant contributor to the goal of achieving net zero emissions.  These topics are suitable for someone interested in pursuing a career in sustainable and renewable energy.

The research work falls within the Renewable and Sustainable Energy theme of the Engineering Faculty and is closely aligned with and supported by industrial collaborations. These positions also offer postgraduate candidates significant exposure to the associated industries, providing networking opportunities.

Successful candidates will be required to start postgraduate studies in January 2022.

  • Requirements to apply: Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a previous qualification in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical or Mechatronic Engineering, specifically BEng, BScEng, HonsBScEng or HonsBSc degrees from an accredited tertiary institution. Candidates with BTech, MTech, MEng or MSc qualifications will not be considered for these positions. A good working knowledge of thermodynamics and material and energy balances is a requirement. Whilst these opportunities are open to international students, bursary funding is only available for South African citizens and permanent residents, who display academic excellence.
  • Application documents: Cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts and the contact details of at least three academic references. Merge all documents into a single PDF and attach it to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be submitted to Prof Craig McGregor at craigm@sun.ac.za.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to make an appointment for this position.

Master’s Opportunities

MEng Opportunity: Production of Tetratriacontane (C34H70) from stearic acid (C18H36O2) using Kolbe Electrolysis

  • Location: Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch
  • Degree level: Full-time research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering (one position available)

An opportunity is available for postgraduate research at master’s level to investigate the conversion of fatty acid stearic acid using the Kolbe Electrolysis reaction to produce natural waxes for the cosmetic industry. Fatty acids from waste vegetable oils hold potential carbon rich sources for energy or other bioproducts such as paraffin wax. Using the Kolbe reaction, saturated fatty acids such as palmitic or stearic acids form dimers and result in the production of long-chain alkanes which can be useful in various industries, including cosmetics. These sustainably made waxes could potentially replace waxes made from petroleum and minerals. In addition, the Kolbe reaction relies on an electrochemical synthesis step, of which the electricity could potentially be generated using solar power.

This project will involve the design, construction, and setup of a pilot scale reactor and downstream processing systems with an industrial partner. The research work falls within the Bioresource Engineering Research Group of the Department of Process Engineering. The successful candidate will be required to start postgraduate studies in January 2022.

  • Requirements to apply: Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >75%) and hold a Bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering from an accredited tertiary institution. Candidates with Diploma, Advance Diploma, BTech qualifications will not be considered for this position. Previous experience in experimental measurement of process data and/or reactor design will be a definite advantage but is not required. Open to all nationalities, but preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents who display academic excellence.
  • Application documents: Interested candidates should provide a cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least three academic references. All documents should be merged into a single PDF and attached to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be sent to Prof. Siew L. Tai at stai@sun.ac.za.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

MEng Opportunity: High pressure phase behaviour of CO2 + n-alkane + acid systems

  • Location: Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch
  • Degree level: Full-time research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering (one position available)

An opportunity is available for postgraduate research at master’s level to investigate the high-pressure phase behaviour of CO2 + n-alkane + acid systems.
Previous studies have shown that for the CO2 + n-alkane + 1-alcohol systems molecular interactions between the n-alkane and 1-alcohol are significant and influence the phase behaviour. However, while this particular series has been well studied, series with other solutes and the molecular interactions present therein are lesser well studied and understood, hindering the implementation of supercritical CO2 processes. The aim of this project is to study the molecular interactions present CO2 + n-alkane + acid systems via experimental measurements and thermodynamic modelling.

The research work falls within the Separations Technology Research Group of the Department of Process Engineering. Successful candidates will be required to start postgraduate studies in January 2022.

  • Requirements to apply:Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from an accredited tertiary institution. Candidates with BTech, BSc or MSc qualifications will not be considered for these positions. Previous experience in experimental measurement of thermodynamic data will be a definite advantage but is not required. Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents who display academic excellence.
  • Application documents: Interested candidates should provide a cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least three academic references. All documents should be merged into a single PDF and attached to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be sent to Prof. C.E. Schwarz at cschwarz@sun.ac.za.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

MEng Opportunity: Production of Fuels from Waste Plastics via Pyrolysis

  • Location: Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch
  • Degree level: Full-time research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering (one position available)

An opportunity is available for postgraduate research at master’s level to investigate the fractional condensation and subsequent upgrading of the oil obtained from the pyrolysis of waste plastics.

It is well known that unrecyclable, end-of-life plastic wastes are problematic and create environmental issues. The characteristics of plastics that make them so useful and durable are specifically those characteristics which make their recycling and decomposition difficult. Due to the composition and contaminates present many plastics cannot (easily) be recycled necessitating an alternative end-of-life solution. One such solution is pyrolysis. Pyrolysis is the thermal decomposition of a compound at elevated temperatures in the presences of an inert atmosphere. A number of studies have already considered the pyrolysis of waste or end-of-life plastics. The oils produced have an energetic value and can used as a feed stock for various fuel fractions. To date the studies of the pyrolysis of plastics have considered the production of a single oil products. Very little effort has been put towards the fractionation of the oil produced. The aim of the proposed project is to investigate the possibility of the production of fuel fractions from plastics via pyrolysis, fractional condensation and subsequent distillation-upgrading.

The research work falls within the Waste Valorization and Separations Technology Research Group of the Department of Process Engineering. Successful candidates will be required to start postgraduate studies in January 2022.

  • Requirements to apply: Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from an accredited tertiary institution. Candidates with BTech, BSc or MSc qualifications will not be considered for these positions. Previous experience in experimental measurement of thermodynamic data will be a definite advantage but is not required. Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents who display academic excellence.
  • Application documents: Interested candidates should provide a cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least three academic references. All documents should be merged into a single PDF and attached to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be sent to Prof. C.E. Schwarz at cschwarz@sun.ac.za.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

MEng Opportunity: Spectroscopic measurement of monomer fractions in multicomponent solvating mixtures towards thermodynamic model improvement

  • Location: Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch
  • Degree level: Research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering (one position available)

Thermodynamic model development has been traditionally geared towards the prediction and correlation of phase equilibrium behaviour. The exponential growth in desktop computing power and the popularisation of fundamental thermodynamic models has facilitated a shift in this focus towards the broader thermodynamic web. The monomer fraction, measurable using Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is hailed in the literature as being singularly representative of the extent of hydrogen bonding in the liquid phase of associating and solvating systems – mixtures common to a wide range of applications including biochemical, pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries. The lack of extensive data, even for binary mixtures, limits the testing of thermodynamic model performance and prevents the systematic improvement of these models.

The proposed project will consider the systematic measurement of monomer fractions in solvating systems containing one or more alcohols, ketones and other oxygenated organic species. The candidate will then be expected to assess the predictions of these properties by state of the art thermodynamic models, and determine whether predictive capabilities of the models can be improved by such inclusion. Depending on results and motivation of the candidate and supervisor, the project is also readily scoped for an upgrade to a PhD.

  • Requirements to apply: Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a previous qualification in Chemical Engineering or Analytical Chemistry, specifically BEng, BScEng, HonsBScEng or HonsBSc degrees from an accredited tertiary institution. Candidates with BTech, MTech, MEng or MSc qualifications will not be considered for these positions. Previous experience in spectroscopy and/or thermodynamic modelling will be a definite advantage. Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents who display academic excellence.
  • Application documents: Interested candidates should provide a cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least three academic references. All documents should be merged into a single PDF and attached to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be sent to Dr Jamie Cripwell at cripwell@sun.ac.za.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Industrial Research Master’s Degree Opportunity: Technical and commercial viability of converting nanocelluloses into valuable biomaterials

In collaboration with Nanodyn Systems (Pty) Ltd

  • Location: Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch
  • Degree level: Research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering (one position available)
  • Employer: Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University. The Biorefinery Research Group offers a diverse and multidisciplinary approach for Research and Training. The research is focused on developing sustainable technologies for converting biomass and waste into commercially sustainable products.
  • Start date: January 2022
  • Duration: 2 years’ studentship
  • Competitive bursary included for the entire duration of the project.

Project description: 

An opportunity is available for postgraduate research at Masters level, the subject matter being the technical and commercial viability of converting nanocelluloses into valuable biomaterials. Nanocelluloses derived from the by-products of primary industries are arguably both under-utilised and are suitable raw material inputs for the creation of new generation, high margin commercial products. This project will focus on the efficient extraction of such nanocelluloses from a suitably identified source, taking into consideration the sustainability and economics of the preferred extraction method. Following successful nanocellulose extraction, optimisation of the product output by means of the application of chemical functionalisation will be considered. The project will entail collaboration with Stellenbosch-based Nanodyn Systems (Pty) Ltd, an organisation which is undertaking similar research.

Prerequisite Attributes of the Candidate

  • A record of consistent academic excellence.
  • The possession of imagination and the capacity for ingenuity.
  • A supreme work-ethic
  • Well-mannered and wholly ethical conduct
  • A commitment to perpetual self-betterment
  • Sound communication, organisational and collaborative skills.

Application Requirements

  1. CV.
  2. Covering letter.
  3. ID or passport copy.
    *Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents.
  4. Complete academic transcripts.
    * Applicants must have a strong academic record with a course aggregate of > 75 % and hold a previous qualification in Chemical Engineering, specifically BEng, BScEng or HonsBScEng degrees from an accredited tertiary institution. Candidates with Diploma, Advanced Diploma, BTech, MTech, MEng or MSc qualifications will not be considered. Previous experience in nanocellulose processing and other biomass materials will be a definite advantage.
  5. Contact details of at least three academic references.
  6. A video introducing yourself and describing your professional expertise.
  7. Merge all documents into a single .pdf and submit to Professor Johann Gorgens at jgorgens@sun.ac.za. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted and asked to interview online/via telephone. Stellenbosch University and Nanodyn Systems (Pty) Ltd reserves the right not to make an appointment for this position.

MEng Opportunity: Process development for organic fertilizer

  • Location: Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch
  • Degree level: Research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering (one position available)

The large-scale production of organic fertilizers is becoming increasingly important to decrease negative environmental impact of chemical fertilizers. Globally, there is a realisation that organic fertilizers have advantages in terms of long-term soil health, sustainability measures, and crop performance. This project will be done in collaboration with an industry partner, and will contribute toward making the agricultural industry more sustainable in the long term.

The work will be completed through a two-year master’s study at Stellenbosch University. The position is for full-time on-campus master’s studies starting in January 2022. The project is fully funded and will be hosted within the Department of Process Engineering at Stellenbosch University. Stellenbosch University is one of the leading research institutions on the African continent and is known for its academic excellence and rich on-campus student experience. The position provides a unique opportunity to help develop solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems, and to work with some of the leading academics on the African continent. If you are independent, curiosity driven, innovative, and willing to work in an interdisciplinary environment, then this exciting position could be yours!

  • Requirements to apply: Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a 4-year undergraduate BEng. or BSc. Eng. degree in Chemical Engineering from an accredited tertiary institution. Candidates can be of any nationality, but preference will be given to candidates who display academic excellence. Please note that candidates holding a Diploma, Advanced Diploma or BTech will not be considered for the position.
  • Application documents: Cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts and the contact details of at least three academic references. Merge all documents into a single PDF and attach it to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be submitted to Prof Neill Goosen at njgoosen@sun.ac.za.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

MEng Opportunity: Cold Thermal Energy Storage using renewable solar energy

  • Location: Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch
  • Degree level: Research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering (one position available)

Cold thermal energy storage can alleviate energy supply intermittency as well as increase renewable energy utilization. This project will investigate the use of hydrate based cold storage of energy generated by solar for community-based applications, such as refrigeration and air conditioning. The assessment of the technology will be performed via simulations, based on available experimental data. The work will involve the determination of energy requirements for a selected application, selection of cold storage materials (two), inclusion of the renewable energy source followed by an economic analysis of the technology.

Successful candidates will be required to start postgraduate studies in January 2022.

  • Requirements to apply: Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a four-year undergraduate BEng. or BSc. Eng. degree in Chemical Engineering from an accredited tertiary institution. Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents who display academic excellence.
  • Application documents: Cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts and the contact details of at least three academic references. Merge all documents into a single PDF and attach it to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be submitted to Prof Prathieka Naidoo at prathiekan@sun.ac.za.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

MEng Opportunity: Measurement and modelling of phase equilibria of multicomponent systems containing associating and non-associating compounds

  • Location: Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch
  • Degree level: Research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering (one position available)

Chemical mixtures are generated in various ways –  e.g. through Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, which will remain a prominent process for the synthesis of (for example) green chemicals from green hydrogen and bio-carbon. Processes for the subsequent separation of chemicals from such mixtures have been around and evolving for centuries. To design these separation processes, chemical engineers need – amongst other – reliable equilibria data, experimental or predicted. The accurate generation of simple vapour-liquid equilibria (VLE) or liquid-liquid equilibria (LLE) experimental data is time consuming and expensive; with the measurement of similar data for multicomponent systems even more so. Thus, versatile thermodynamic models that can accurately predict the phase equilibria of such systems are essential. Equations of state that are based on association theory use pure component data to successfully predict binary phase equilibria.

An opportunity is available for postgraduate research at master’s level to systematically test the assumption that these models can accurately predict multicomponent phase equilibria with a similar accuracy as they do for binary systems, especially for complex mixtures containing associating, cross-associating, and non-associating components.

The research work falls within the Separations Technology theme of the Department of Process Engineering, and is closely aligned with and supported by industrial collaborations. These positions also offer postgraduate candidates significant exposure to the associated industries, providing networking opportunities. Successful candidates will be required to start postgraduate studies in January 2022.

  • Requirements to apply: Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a previous qualification in Chemical Engineering or Chemistry, specifically BEng, BScEng, HonsBScEng or HonsBSc degrees from an accredited tertiary institution. Candidates with BTech, MTech, MEng or MSc qualifications will not be considered for these positions. Previous experience in phase equilibria thermodynamics will be a definite advantage. Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents who display academic excellence.
  • Application documents: Cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least three academic references. Merge all documents into a single PDF and attach it to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be submitted to Prof André Burger at ajburger@sun.ac.za or Ms Danielle de Klerk at dldk@sun.ac.za.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

MEng Opportunity: Optimum integration of desalination technologies in green hydrogen production plants

  • Location: Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch
  • Degree level: Research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering

The production of green hydrogen through electrolysis of water (utilising renewable energy, such as solar and wind) requires clean, demineralised water.  Large electrolysis plants that rely on the sea as source of water would, therefore, include desalination facilities. This project will entail a systematic techno-economic and practical assessment of the integration of desalination systems with electrolyser units, focussing on large-scale hydrogen production systems at the West Coast of South Africa.

The research work falls within the Water Technology theme of the Department of Process Engineering, and is closely aligned with the vision of future sustainability. These positions also offer postgraduate candidates significant exposure to the associated industries, providing networking opportunities.

Successful candidates will be required to start postgraduate studies in January 2022.

  • Requirements to apply: Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a previous qualification in Chemical Engineering, specifically BEng, BScEng, HonsBScEng or HonsBSc degrees from an accredited tertiary institution. Candidates with BTech, MTech, MEng or MSc qualifications will not be considered for these positions.
  • Application documents: Cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least three academic references. Merge all documents into a single PDF and attach it to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be submitted to Mrs Mieke du Plessis at miekedup@sun.ac.za, or Prof André Burger at ajburger@sun.ac.za.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

MEng Opportunities: Sustainable (green) hydrogen production

  • Location: Department of Process Engineering or Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch
  • Degree level: Research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering (several positions available)

Several opportunities are available for postgraduate research at PhD level with a focus on the systems-level assessment of systems used for the production, storage, and distribution of sustainable (green) hydrogen produced from renewable energy resources.  As the costs of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar become cheaper and cheaper, and the world strives to combat climate change, green hydrogen will become a significant contributor to the goal of achieving net zero emissions.  These topics are suitable for someone interested in pursuing a career in sustainable and renewable energy.

The research work falls within the Renewable and Sustainable Energy theme of the Engineering Faculty and is closely aligned with and supported by industrial collaborations. These positions also offer postgraduate candidates significant exposure to the associated industries, providing networking opportunities.

Successful candidates will be required to start postgraduate studies in January 2022.

  • Requirements to apply: Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a previous qualification in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical or Mechatronic Engineering, specifically BEng, BScEng, HonsBScEng or HonsBSc degrees from an accredited tertiary institution. Candidates with BTech, MTech, MEng or MSc qualifications will not be considered for these positions. A good working knowledge of thermodynamics and material and energy balances is a requirement. Whilst these opportunities are open to international students, bursary funding is only available for South African citizens and permanent residents, who display academic excellence.
  • Application documents: Cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts and the contact details of at least three academic references. Merge all documents into a single PDF and attach it to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be submitted to Prof Craig McGregor at craigm@sun.ac.za.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to make an appointment for this position.

MEng Opportunity: Innovative methods to convert sugarcane lignocelluloses to valuable biomaterials

  • Location: Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch
  • Degree level: Research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering

An opportunity is available for postgraduate research at Master’s level into the conversion of sugarcane lignocelluloses into valuable biomaterials. Sugarcane lignocelluloses such as bagasse or harvest residues are presently under-utilised, while they are suitable raw materials for high value products like nanocelluloses, oligosaccharides or organic binders. The unique properties of sugarcane lignocelluloses for these applications will be explored through combinations of high-pressure steam, chemical pulping and mechanical processing methods, aiming to simplify the processing methods without compromising the product quality of yield. The experimental results from the current project will be used in subsequent research to assess the financial feasibilities of these conversion methods.

The research work falls within the Bioresource Engineering theme of the Department of Process Engineering, and is closely aligned with and supported by industrial collaborations. These positions also offer postgraduate candidates significant exposure to the associated industries, providing networking opportunities. Successful candidates will be required to start postgraduate studies in January 2022.

  • Requirements to apply: Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a previous qualification in Chemical Engineering or Materials Science, specifically BEng, BScEng, HonsBScEng or HonsBSc degrees from an accredited tertiary institution. Candidates with BTech, MTech, MEng or MSc qualifications will not be considered for these positions. Previous experience in lignocellulose processing and (bio)materials science will be a definite advantage. Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents, and who display academic excellence.
  • Application documents: Cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts and the contact details of at least three academic references. Merge all documents into a single PDF and attach it to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be sent to Prof Johann Görgens at jgorgens@sun.ac.za.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.