PhD Position: Industrial Doctoral School - Environmental Chemistry

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Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology

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Perfluorinated substances in household waste and degradation/transformation during waste incineration

The PhD student position is part of the Industrial Graduate School (IDS) at Umeå University which aims to increase the collaboration between researchers at Umeå University, on the one hand, and representatives of companies and public organisations, on the other. The main focus of the project will be perfluorinated and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) and their occurrence in household waste. The main objective of the project is to clarify to what extent waste handling and incineration serve as sources of dispersal of PFAS, alternatively as reduction and/or destruction mechanisms. The deadline for applications is 180518.

Description
PFAS is a common name for perfluorinated and polyfluorinated substances. They are stable and may be extensively distributed in the environment. PFAS are found in a wide range of products and are likely to end up in waste incineration plants when these products reach their end-of-life. You will study what happens to PFAS during waste storage and pre-treatment, as well as the combustion process, and by which routes they are released to the surrounding environment from waste management activities. The main objective of this project is to clarify whether waste incineration is as a source of dispersal of PFAS, or serves to reduce or destroy them. Another goal is to identify possible routes of release of PFAS into the environment and to propose solutions for the prevention of such release.

The practical work will be done in close collaboration with industry and will include realistic leaching tests in lab-scale and pre-pilot scale, using solid wastes. Transformation and degradation of PFAS will be studied in combustion trials of a simulated waste fuel. The PhD student will be employed by Umeå University, while parts of the practical work will be carried out on-site at a combined heat and power plant owned by Umeå's energy utility. Umeå Energi AB is a municipality-owned company that provides district heating to large portions of Umeå. The company also manages the Umeå electricity grid, provides internet connections and trades electricity, both from the open market and their own production.

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