PhD candidate - sustainability assessment of carbon-negative biofuels from organic waste

The Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials invites applications for a PhD-position in the sustainability assessment of carbon-negative biofuels from organic waste. The Ph.D. work will be performed within the framework of the EU Horizon Europe project CARBIOW.
  • WO
  • Tijdelijk
Maastricht University (UM)


Project information

The EU Horizon Europe Carbon Negative Biofuels from Organic Waste (CARBIOW) project addresses the green transition and circular economy by proposing novel technologies that cover the whole process of conversion of organic waste to biofuels. On one hand, hard-to-utilize organic waste such as the organic fraction of municipal solid waste and residues from biorefinery and biological processes are utilized to highlight a new bioenergy source. On the other hand, new technologies will be developed from TRL 2 to 5.

The proposed technologies via CARBIOW enable Europe to take the lead and advance in several fields of energy generation and energy sector decarbonization. Moreover, energy security, economical boost, local energy independence, and job creation are addressed. Torrefaction as an emerging technology converts the very heterogeneous and wet organic waste to a high-quality solid biofuel. Besides, torgas will be combusted with oxygen to generate energy for torrefaction, and to obtain nearly pure CO2. A novel technology i.e., oxygen-blown gasification in oxygen carrier aided systems will convert the torrefied organic waste to clean syngas with very high efficiency in terms of energy and yield. The syngas will be used in the Fischer-Tropsch process with a novel reactor and novel 3D printed catalysts aiming to produce aviation (kerosene) and marine (alcohols) biofuels. The CO2 from the oxy-conversion steps will be fixed in the resulting ashes from the same process via carbonization to make a cement-based product. So, CARBIOW addresses another goal which is the decarbonization of the cement industry, while making the biofuels to be carbon negative. The diversity and strength of the experts within the consortium of CARBIOW will guarantee the technological, technical, and societal advancement of what is proposed, most importantly, the exploitation and perspective of the whole process will be evaluated by the leaders and industrial sites to pledge the feasibility of the scale-up and further development of the proposed process.


  • Develop and perform environmental and social LCA analyses
  • Develop and validate methods for LCA using project and secondary data;
  • Work with a multi-stakeholder project team to discuss research problems;
  • Communicate the results of the research to project partners and stakeholders;
  • Write scientific papers for international peer-reviewed conferences and journals;
  • Present research work at international conferences;
  • Provide teaching assistance in undergraduate and master’s courses;
  • Participate in international project meetings;
  • Finalize the work in a Ph.D. thesis.

The Ph.D. research will be performed under the co-supervision of a postdoctoral researcher of this project.



  • Master's degree in a relevant discipline (chemical engineering, sustainability science, programming, etc.)
  • Training and/or experience with LCA, social impact assessment and/or biobased products
  • Demonstrable affinity with the topic;
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently as well as in a team;
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English and good communication skills


Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 22,000 students and about 5,000 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.


  • We offer a rewarding career at a young university in the heart of Europe, with a distinctly global perspective and a strong focus on innovative research and education;
  • The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO), supplemented with local UM provisions. For more information on terms of employment, please visit our website > About UM > Working at UM
  • We offer a 4-year full-time appointment as a Ph.D. candidate. The first year will be a probation period; after a positive assessment, the position will be extended for another 3 years. Start date as soon as possible;
  • Remuneration will be according to standard salary levels for Ph.D. students starting with a salary of €2.395,- with a yearly growth to €3.061,- gross a month, based on a full-time appointment (38 hours/week);
  • On top of this, there is an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance;
  • We offer an attractive package of fringe benefits such as a reduction on collective health insurance, substantial leave arrangements, an optional model for designing a personalized benefits package, sports facilities that staff may use at a modest charge, and application for attractive fiscal arrangements for employees from abroad;
  • We provide a stimulating, collaborative and interdisciplinary work environment with excellent opportunities for professional and personal development;
  • Maastricht University has an excellent international reputation, and Maastricht itself is a beautiful, open-minded city located in the center of Western Europe.

Meer informatie

Informal inquiries concerning this position can be directed to Yvonne van der Meer, Chair of the research group Sustainability of Chemicals and Materials: Please include the vacancy number in the subject of your e-mail.