Job Biomass Analysis Research Internship

Current climate change concerns and the post COVID world call for urgent solutions to develop sustainable societies. Nonfood biomass instead of petroleum is an option to produce cleaner biofuels, bioplastics and more. 

To achieve some sustainable goals, biomass needs to be transformed by sustainable manufacturing, which is in line with several initiatives, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, a key step on biomass transformation is to rigorously know its chemical composition at elemental and molecular level with the purpose of enabling the selection of fit-for-purpose biomass for industrial applications. 

Biomass elemental analysis is also needed in forensics, waste management, farming, nutritional formulations, combustion and the food-water-energy nexus, to cite a few. It is expensive, tedious, lengthy and requires a set of advanced skills available from commercial suppliers. However, this can be overcome at CCCU thanks to a new opportunity. CCCU recently acquired a state-of-the-art Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled to Energy Dispersive X-Ray Analysis. SEM-EDX can provide visual information on biomass structure and composition of elements like carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorous, sulfur, calcium and many more. This internship will set up a protocol in support of biomass characterization through SEM-EDX analysis.

Duties and responsibilities
The successful Research Intern aims at developing and testing one transferable reliable protocol for elemental analysis of biomass through SEM-EDX. The research intern will work to deliver the Project Milestones. Including, carrying out SEM-EDX microscopy and elemental analysis of biomass samples; writing reports (analyses done with methods of the manufacturer; preliminary and final analyses with fit-for-purpuse protocol and real samples; protocols, final report, presentation slides and poster to cite a few). The intern will be directly involved with the day-to-day running of the project; data analysis and interpretation; delivering research tasks; contribute to discussions about the project with project partners.

Skills and experience
Please note that applicants must be current CCCU students on taught undergraduate or postgraduate courses (not PhDs).

Experience working in laboratories, e.g. chemistry, biology, engineering or relevant Confident skills on qualitative and quantitative chemical analysis of samples from living organism Strong literature searching skills Strong skills using Microsoft software and programmes (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint) Strong interpersonal and communication skills Strong skills on writing up technical reports, posters and presentations Attention to detail Undertake work independently and as part of a team High level of organizational skills


Additional information
Proposed interview date -between 16 to 20 January 2023.

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Self-funded PhD opportunity on Sustainable fuels and chemicals from sustainable biomass and bioprocessing

Project Description

The UN Sustainable Development Goals, COP26 and more forums worldwide urge for positive action on climate change. Innovative sustainable solutions can help to build a better climate to develop sustainable societies. Nonfood biomass instead of petroleum, coal or controversial food feedstocks can produce cheaper, safer, faster and environmentally friendlier products and services. For instance, advanced biofuels, bioplastics, biooil, sugars, biofertilizers, proteins and foods to cite a few.

Advantageously, this project would use a promising nonfood biomass feedstock adapted through millions of years for growing in extreme conditions close to megacities worldwide. Arid biomass requires far less common inputs like water, energy, machinery, pest control, downstream and upstream processing than microalgae and traditional crops. The challenge is to create sustainable processes for transforming arid biomass into sustainable products and services responsibly.

The PhD project aims at studying biotechnological and chemical engineering strategies to create novel sustainable processes transforming arid biomass into wealth while helping people and the environment in a more responsible way. Products and services could be used in energy, feed and food production, agriculture and farming.

An understanding of bioprocessing, bio/chemical process engineering, biomass valorisation are foundations for creating viable strategies. Strong laboratory skills in the aforementioned subjects are essential. Basic design and expression of recombinant enzymes and/or molecular cloning skills are desirable, not essential, but to be learned and applied along with the project.

Applicants must have achieved or be expected to achieve a 1st class or 2:1 honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline in Chemical/Biochemical/Environmental Engineering, Biotechnology or equivalent or have relevant industrial experience…

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Bioenergy from an automatic small facility

Converting waste into bioenergy is a hot topic around the world. Several are the reasons for doing this, ranging from adding value to waste, reducing carbon footprint and air pollutants while producing valuable products like fertilisers and more.

New research unveils the evaluation of the performance on food waste conversion into bioenergy in a decentralised facility, where biological treatment by natural microbes converts food waste into biomass, a process known as anaerobic digestion.

The evaluation not only considers energy efficiency of the entire process but also the removal of organic matter and its conversion into valuable products, that otherwise would end up in the environment.

Results demonstrated that small scale digestion units are technical suitable for biogas production at acceptable level to consider it valuable.

The system could produce its own electricity at an efficiency of up to 0.95% when the yield of methane is 360 litres per kilogram of volatile solids in the food waste fed to the digester, representing a removal of 93% of these solids in the feed stream.

Process stability is normally a problem but in this case high process stability increased thanks to the innovative addiction of an auxiliary storage system.

There were some operation conditions that could compromise the good use of energy to heat up equipment in various stages, the researchers reported*.

*Download from ELSEVIER (last day: 23 Oct 2020). González, R. et al. (2020) ‘Performance evaluation of a small-scale digester for achieving decentralised management of waste’, Waste Management, 118, pp. 99–109. doi:

Entrepreneurship: Students’ character dominates but uni helps

Researchers have found that teaming up student´s personality and university support favors students intentions to become entrepreneurs in an emerging economy.

The raising  number of calls to become an entrepreneur sounds like welcoming messages to wonderlands. In most of the cases the message is aimed at the youth. And, like in any group of youths,  it would sound easy to push university students to choose an entrepreneurial career, but do they have what it takes?

Is it the student’s proactive personality or the university support environment that affects their entrepreneurial intentions?

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Saving the Earth from ending like Venus: on fire and raining sulphuric acid


We show a new way to save our planet from global warming.  To tackle this problem, We focus on a natural approach to capture the smoky carbon dioxide released by industrial plants and make chalk out of it, using a process that could be accelerated up to one million times and adds value to CO2 in a socially responsible way. You can find the whole article in page 9 of Asia Research News.