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Developing a new energy efficient technology for dewatering of food materials

The food and beverage industry is the second highest energy-consuming sector in the UK that has experienced only modest reductions in energy usage over recent decades. Some progress has been made in the reduction of energy consumption and emissions from the food chain in response to government initiatives and legislation and the desire of many companies to improve social and environmental performance. It has been achieved primarily through the application of well-proven energy conservation technologies and activities that could lead to quick return on investment. However, much more radical solutions are needed to reduce further energy demand in the food sector and mitigate the related climate change impacts. Energy can be saved at the processing plant level by optimizing and integrating processes and systems to reduce energy intensity, which includes more efficient processes such as drying, minimization of waste through energy recovery and better use of by-products.

This 4-year PhD studentship involves development of novel drying process and food products/ ingredients that could be used in the food supply chain to improve overall sustainability and circular economy. The project involves: (i) Design and construction of laboratory drying cell; (ii) Screening and characterization of different food materials; (iii) Assessment of drying processing on targeted food materials; (iv) Analysis and interpretation of laboratory results (physical and chemical properties) & (v) Assessment of environmental impact of a newly developed technology.

You will have an opportunity to work between Brunel Univeristy London (BUL) and Univeristy of Reading and take part in the multidisciplinary research area at the Centre for Sustainable Energy Use in Food Chains (CSEF) at BUL (www.foodenergy.org.uk). CSEF has established a unique cross-disciplinary hub of engineers, scientists and industry experts to develop energy-efficient food manufacturing, distribution and retail systems to support companies achieve their short, mid and long term CO2 emissions reduction targets.

The successful candidates will receive a stipend of £17,285 per year, plus Home tuition fees.

Training opportunities: Both Universities will provide training, technical and academic support. You will have an opportunity to work in a multidisciplinary research area that involves food engineering, food science and environmental sustainability. You will develop transferable skills with engaging with the food industry interested in developing this technology and potentially work on their food materials and waste.


The successful candidate will possess minimum 2:1 Honours degree in Food Science/ Engineering/Technology, Chemical or Process Engineering or equivalent qualification(s). Degree in MPhIl, MEng, MSc or relevant industrial experience would be an advantage.

Funding Notes: This project is part of the FoodBioSystems BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), it will be funded subject to a competition to identify the strongest applicants. Due to restrictions on the funding, this studentship is only open to UK students and EU students who have lived in the UK for the past three years.

How to apply

For more information on the DTP programme and on-line application, project number FBS2020-60, please visit https://research.reading.ac.uk/foodbiosystems/.

For more information about a PhD opportunity, please contact Dr. Valentina Stojceska at valentina.stojceska@brunel.ac.uk  or  44 (0)1895 267328.