Job Details

  • Province: Western Cape
  • Type of engagement: Permanent appointment
  • Posted: April 26th

Background to Position

An opportunity for a postdoctoral researcher focused on the techno-economics, life cycle and sustainability assessments of biomass, green hydrogen and CO2 conversion to energy, chemicals and materials is currently available. 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, together with green hydrogen and CO2, in research programs at the Department of Chemical Engineering and its collaborators.

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 via these processing methods. Such technology developments require techno-economic, environmental impact and sustainability assessments, to identify preferred process and product options as well as the required improvements in technological processes for industrial implementation.

Job Description

The postdoctoral researcher will be expected to contribute significantly to:

  • Independently working on AspenPlus® process simulations, greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, life cycle environmental assessments with SimaPro® and techno-economics for a range of process technologies for biomass valourisation 
  • Provide technical support to other researchers in the group working on similar projects.
  • Critical evaluation of existing technologies, and proposals for technical development to improve these.
  • The publication of research outputs from current and previous projects.
  • Development of new areas of research within the research group.
  • Writing new funding proposals to sustain research activities. 

Inherent Criteria

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

Candidates with a proven track record in chemical process design, process simulations such as AspenPlus®, SimaPro®, techno-economic assessments of process technologies and GHG or life cycle assessments of environmental impacts, are particularly encouraged to apply.

Application Requirement

The fellowship is available for a minimum period of 12 (twelve) months, with a starting date of 1 August 2024, or shortly thereafter, and is renewable thereafter based on performance and funding availability. A competitive scholarship has been granted for the position and, provided that the necessary procedures are put in place, this will be awarded tax free. Please note that postdoctoral fellows are not appointed as employees and are therefore not eligible for employee benefits. 

Closing date for applications is 31 May 2024. The university reserves the right not to fill the position.

See for more details on the department and research group at Stellenbosch University.

About Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University (SU) is home to an academic community of 29 000 students (including 4 000 foreign students from 100 countries) as well as 3 000 permanent staff members (including 1 000 academics) on five campuses. ​The historical oak-lined university town amongst the Boland Mountains in the winelands of the Western Cape creates a unique campus atmosphere, which attracts local and foreign students alike. On the main campus, paved walkways wind between campus buildings – some dating from previous centuries; others just a few years old. Architecture from various eras attests to the sound academic foundation and establishment of an institution of excellence. This, together with the scenic beauty of the area; state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly facilities and technology, as well as visionary thinking about the creation of a sustainable 21st-century institution, makes for the unique character of Stellenbosch University.