Faculty of Engineering
 

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Ioanna Dimitriou

Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

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Biography

Ioanna obtained her MEng in Chemical Engineering in 2006 (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece). The same year she was awarded a scholarship from the School of Civil Engineering of the University of Leeds to study for an MSc in Environmental Engineering and Project Management, which she graduated from in 2007.

She completed her PhD in Chemical Engineering at Aston University in 2012 under the supervision of Professor Tony Bridgwater. From 2012-2017, she was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering at the University of Sheffield. Her research there was focused on techno-economic feasibility assessments of carbon capture and utilisation processes (EPSRC), biorefinery systems (EU FP7), and waste plastic pyrolysis applications (IAA Early Career Researcher Grant). She was also a member of the Department's Opportunities Committee which succeeded in winning the Athena SWAN silver award in 2014 and renewing it in 2017. In 2018, she was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Nottingham and she is a member of the Low Carbon Energy and Resources Technologies Research Group.

Expertise Summary

Ioanna's research interests lie in process modelling and optimisation, techno-economic analysis, thermochemical and biochemical conversion of biomass and waste, and carbon capture and utilisation. She has been an invited speaker at seminars and conferences in the USA and the UK and has acted as an expert proposal evaluator for the European Commission (Horizon 2020 programme) and the Greek Ministry of Education. She has also been appointed advisory board member for low-carbon technologies projects by major media outlets, such as The Economist. She is an Associate Member of the Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Teaching Summary

Ioanna teaches process simulation and modelling to undergraduate and postgraduate chemical engineering students using commercial software (Aspen HYSYS, Aspen Plus). The main objective is for the… read more

Research Summary

Ioanna's research is focused on Process Systems Engineering (PSE) for the development of algorithms and techno-economic models that describe individual processes and their economic performance. The… read more

Recent Publications

PhD studentship: "Techno-economic feasibility and life-cycle assessments of chemical recycling of plastic waste"

Applications are invited for a fully funded 3-year PhD project in the area of chemical recycling of plastic waste in the Low Carbon Energy and Resources Technologies (LCERT) research group at the University of Nottingham. Our research group is world renowned for its high impact research on biomass/waste thermochemical conversion, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and carbon dioxide utilisation.

Background

Globally, only 14-18% of plastic is recycled, while the rest is incinerated or landfilled, and some ultimately leaks into the environment, including waterways and the ocean. Rising concerns over plastics' contribution to environmental pollution and climate change are driving governments and business leaders to rethink the plastics value chain, including strengthening recycling. Chemical recycling is widely seen as a promising technology for converting plastic waste, destined for landfill, into a product with similar properties to crude oil. This plastic waste derived oil can be used to produce chemicals, fuels and new plastics reducing reliance on fossil fuel sources and contributing to the establishment of a Circular Economy. However, the economic potential and environmental impact of chemical recycling is not yet fully understood. This creates considerable uncertainty for public and private investment and hinders efforts to influence future policy for plastic waste derived products.

Outline of PhD

This project aims to support the development of a robust and transparent decision-support framework for economic and environmental sustainability assessments of chemical recycling of plastic waste. This will be aimed at non-specialist users to make it more accessible to the general public, policy makers, businesses and investors facilitating technology development and commercialisation. The primary focus of this PhD will be to evaluate the techno-economic feasibility and environmental impacts of different process scenarios for chemical recycling of plastic waste. Several technologies will be evaluated, including pyrolysis and supercritical water liquefaction. Towards this aim, the project will include:

  • Evaluation of available chemical recycling technologies to target products (e.g. fuels, plastics) within the UK.
  • Development of new process and cost models to determine the most cost-effective options and set design targets to achieve economic feasibility.
  • Process optimisations focusing on heat integration, maximising profit and minimising greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Life-cycle analyses (LCA) of the developed scenarios to assess their environmental impacts.

Techno-economic assessment (TEA) and life-cycle analysis (LCA) are valuable tools for assessing the economic viability and environmental impacts of new technologies, respectively. These are widely used in industry (e.g. consultancy, energy companies) to optimise existing processes and explore new technology options. PhD Engineering graduates with TEA and LCA experience are highly sought by both industry and academia; thus, they have a wider range of employment options upon graduation.

Eligibility

We are seeking for an exceptionally talented and motivated student to join our research team. The following eligibility criteria apply:

  • The applicant should be a UK or Irish national. EU citizens with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme are also eligible.
  • A first-class or an upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in Chemical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, or a related discipline.
  • Experience with or willingness to learn process simulation and LCA software, such as Aspen Plus, Aspen HYSYS, MATLAB and GaBi.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, which will be essential for collaboration with other research group members, disseminating the results via journal publications and attendance at international conferences.

Funding

Funding will cover tuition fees along with a starting tax-free stipend of approximately £16,000 with an annual incremental increase. This will be awarded to the suitable candidate, following an internal Faculty approvals process led by the supervisor. There will also be some support available for conference attendance. The anticipated start date is 1st October 2022.

Closing date: applications should be received as soon as possible and no later than 31 August 2022 for standard admissions.

How to apply

Applications with a CV, cover letter and academic transcripts should be sent to the project's supervisor Dr Ioanna Dimitriou (ioanna.dimitriou@nottingham.ac.uk). The cover letter should include the rational for applying for the position, a summary of previous research experience and an overview of their suitability for the position. Informal inquiries prior to application are also welcome. Suitable applicants will be interviewed, and if successful, invited to make a formal application.

Ioanna teaches process simulation and modelling to undergraduate and postgraduate chemical engineering students using commercial software (Aspen HYSYS, Aspen Plus). The main objective is for the students to be able to apply quantitative methods and computer software relevant to the chemical engineering discipline, in order to solve process design problems. She also supervises MEng and MSc research projects and provides teaching support for the year 3 design project.

Module convenor and lecturer:

Process Simulation 1 (Year 3)

Module contributor:

Practical laboratories (Year 2)

Design Project (Year 3)

MEng Project (Year 4)

MSc Project (PGT)

Current Research

Ioanna's research is focused on Process Systems Engineering (PSE) for the development of algorithms and techno-economic models that describe individual processes and their economic performance. The main aim is to determine the economic and technical boundaries of low-carbon energy systems to support policy makers and businesses in their decision-making.

Main research areas:

  • Biofuels/Biorefineries
  • CO2 capture & utilisation
  • Chemical recycling of plastic waste

Faculty of Engineering

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD



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