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CNRS PhD (Man/Woman) in the catalytic conversion of biomass

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

Date Limite Candidature : lundi 10 octobre 2022

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General information

Reference : UMR7285-FRAJER-006
Workplace : POITIERS
Date of publication : Monday, September 19, 2022
Scientific Responsible name : Francois Jerome
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 December 2022
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

The search for new technologies opening access to industrially relevant biobased molecules through atom, water and energy efficient processes has become a major industrial, environmental and societal challenge. In this context, lignin represents a strategic biobased polymer for which innovations are expected, in particular to control more selectively the cleavage of the different C-O bonds, and thus to access biobased phenolic molecules. These phenolic compounds are key intermediates from which it is possible to synthesize a multitude of downstream chemicals. Recently, IC2MP has developed a new catalytic process capable of selectively functionalizing or defunctionalizing phenolic molecules.
The objective of this PhD is to evaluate the potential of breakthrough offered by this new catalytic process in the synthesis of phenolic compounds from lignin. First, PhD studies will focus on the reactivity of model molecules in order to better understand all mechanisms involved. Then, more and more complex molecules will be tested and, if realistic, on real lignin. In addition to the selectivity of the reactions which will be the main criterion of success, the productivity of the reactors, the stability and the activity of catalysts will be essential criteria which will be taken into account to increase the TRL of this process.

Role of the candidate: She/He will have in charge to optimize the catalytic process previously developed by IC2MP on lignin models and then, if feasible, on real lignin. Reactions will be typically carried out in a batch reactor and it will be monitored by gas/liquid chromatography, 1H/13C NMR and mass spectrometry. She/He will have to compare her/his results with the state of the art, in particular in terms of catalytic performances (selectivity, yield, reactor productivity)

Expected skills expected: She/He should have a strong knowledge in the field of catalysis (homogeneous or heterogeneous) applied to organic chemistry. The candidate is also expected to be curious and imaginative to challenge the team by proposing for example radically different approaches

Work Context

This PhD study will be carried out at the CNRS at the Institute of Chemistry of Poitiers (IC2MP) located at the University of Poitiers in France. IC2MP is a joint unit between the University of Poitiers and the CNRS working on the design of sustainable reactions/products. It is an interdisciplinary institute that studies (1) the design of clean processes (catalysis, bio-solvents, renewable energies, alternative technologies, etc.) and (2) the transfer and bioaccumulation of organic molecules in ecosystems. In this project the candidate will join the “Catalysis in unconventional environments” team. This team conducts research on (1) the replacement of fossil carbon with renewable carbon and (2) the development of clean technologies for chemistry. The candidate will have full access to the analytical platform of IC2MP (PLATINA), including all the major equipment required to characterize the organic molecules and the catalysts generated within the framework of this project (XPS, XRD, TEM/SEM, mass spectrometry, NMR, etc.). The thesis will be carried out under the responsibility of a CNRS research director and the candidate will be registered at the Théodore Monod doctoral school at the University of Poitiers

Constraints and risks

Work with chemicals. Possible missions in France and abroad.

Additional Information

Discussions/exchanges with major chemical companies, in particular those involved in phenolic derivatives, will be organized.

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