Jobbet "Postdoc in Hydrothermal Liquefaction Process Development" er udløbet.
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Expected start date and duration of employment
This is a 2–year position, with the possibility of 1 year extension, from 01.09.2021 or as soon as possible.

Job description
The main responsibilities of the candidate will lie in:

  • planning and execution of pilot scale HTL campaigns
  • the modification of the existing pilot scale HTL reactor for improved performance and efficiency and the testing of this
  • the design, construction and commissioning of a new novel unit operations to improve future HTL reactor designs e.g. in-line filters, product separation, catalytic beds and similar
  • chemical analysis of HTL products, data processing and analysis from experimental campaigns to produce scientific publications and reports
  • active participation in the supervision and training of MSc, BSc and PhD students

The work will expand on the on-going research using a state of the art, continuous, hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) reactor at the Centre for Biorefining Technologies at the Foulum Campus of Aarhus University. See for more details. The HTL plant is currently one of the largest worldwide in academic settings and allows testing of unique and novel ideas at a relevant scale for industry. The work will be carried out as part of a growing team working in hydrothermal processing (carbonization and liquefaction) with currently two faculty members, two postdocs, three PhD students, technicians and varying amounts of MSc students and BSc students. There are several research projects on-going within the HTL field dealing with heterogeneous catalysts, process water management, HTL of synthetic polymers, waste management, usually these are closely tried to industry. Findings from the on-going research in these projects, which are often performed in batch scale will be applied and implemented in the continuous pilot plant, which will be the task for the applicant in support of the other team members.

Prior experience in operation, design and maintenance of chemical processes in the biorefining/biofuel sector at pilot scale is desired. The candidate is required to have a PhD in chemical engineering, process engineering or similar (or about to complete the degree). A strong academic background in applied research and publication record are expected. The candidates must demonstrate ability to conduct basic and applied interdisciplinary research, and experience with technology transfer from university to industry is beneficial. It is important that the applicant has the ability to independently design and construct process equipment based on high pressure fittings (e.g. Swagelok), installation and programming of sensors and process control (e.g. Labview, Labjack, Matlab or silmiar). Prior experience in this type of work is essential. Additional professional certificates, qualifications and experience in e.g. Health and Safety, electrical work, mechanical engineering, programming are an advantage. Experience in analysis of biomass, biofuels and bioproducts using equipment such as elemental analysis, HPLC, GC-MS and similar are a valuable skill for the candidate.

The ideal candidate has all or several of the following qualifications and specific competences:

  • A PhD degree in Chemical Engineering or similar (or about to)
  • The ability to design engineering process equipment and experience in process control (e.g. Labview or similar)
  • Experience in operating continuous flow reactors  
  • A solid background in thermochemical processing of biomass, biorefining, biofuels or related areas.
  • The ability to work independently and to generate new ideas and creative approaches.
  • The ability to write high impact, peer reviewed academic publications.
  • Is passionate about science and engineering and working in a team dedicated to green technologies.

Who we are
The Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering Within Chemical Engineering, the BCE Department has strong research sections in Environmental Engineering and Materials & Process Engineering. Close collaboration with our neighbouring Departments (Mechanical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Molecular Biology & Genetics, iNano, Biosciences, Food, Agroecology and Chemistry) is a natural part of our culture. The successful applicant will be working with Chemical Engineering and will produce and disseminate knowledge and research results. Translation of results into solving relevant societal challenges is a highly prioritized part of our work.

The position is available through an European Research Council Starting Grant for Associate Professor Patrick Biller. The project is called “REBOOT – Resource efficient bio-chemical production and waste treatment” and runs for five years starting on 1st January 2020. The aim of the project is to shed light on some of the fundamental scientific questions in the Hydrothermal Liquefaction (HTL) process relating to ash chemistry, catalysis and wastewater valorisation. The project is quite unique as fundamental research is directly transferred to an existing continuous-flow pilot scale HTL reactor.

What we offer
The department/centre offers:

  • World class HTL research infrastructure, laboratories and access to shared equipment
  • The opportunity and support to develop own research ideas
  • an exciting interdisciplinary environment with many national, international and industrial collaborators
  • a work environment with close working relationships, networking and social activities
  • a workplace characterised by professionalism, equality and a healthy work-life balance.

Place of work and area of employment
The position includes two permanent workplace addresses in Foulum and Aarhus respectively. The attendance at each workplace address is by agreement with your immediate supervisor. At the time of employment, the distribution between the workplace addresses is expected to be 2 days with place of employment in Aarhus and 3 days with place of employment in Foulum. In Aarhus the place of work is Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering, Hangøvej 2, 8200 Aarhus. In Foulum the place of work is Centre for Biorefining Technologies, Blichers Alle 20, 8830 Foulum . The area of employment is Aarhus University with affiliated institutions.

Contact information
For further information, please contact: Associate Professor, Patrick Biller,

Application procedure
Shortlisting is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants.

Letter of reference
If you want a referee to upload a letter of reference on your behalf, please state the referee’s contact information when you submit your application. We strongly recommend that you make an agreement with the person in question before you enter the referee’s contact information, and that you ensure that the referee has enough time to write the letter of reference before the application deadline.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to ensure that letters of reference received after the application deadline will be taken into consideration.

Formalities and salary range
Technical Sciences refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities.

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.

Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Read more here. Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here.

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.
Aarhus University
Aarhus University is an academically diverse and research-intensive university with a strong commitment to high-quality research and education and the development of society nationally and globally. The university offers an inspiring research and teaching environment to its 38,000 students (FTEs) and 8,000 employees, and has an annual revenues of EUR 885 million. Learn more at

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