Postdoctoral Scholar, Production of Green Solvents from Biomass, Canada First Research Excellence Fund
University of Calgary, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Job Description:

Several Postdoctoral positions are available for projects to investigate the use of novel additives in Oil Sands Recovery Processes. The position is available immediately and the search will continue until the team is assembled.

In 2016, the University of Calgary was awarded $75 million over seven years from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) for its initiative entitled Global Research Initiative (GRI) in Sustainable Low carbon Unconventional Resources. The goal of this research is to dramatically reduce the impact of energy extraction and production on the environment.

As part of the implementation of its GRI scientific strategy and to improve hydrocarbon recovery, while reducing emissions and energy intensity, we are seeking applications from qualified and motivated scientists with a passion for clean energy and interdisciplinary research.

You will work in the development of a solvent production process to convert residual forestry and/or agricultural waste biomasses into green solvents to be used in the recovery and upgrading of heavy oil and bitumen. Utilization of residual biomass (agricultural, forestry, and industrial waste) as a feedstock for the production of solvent will provide a dual benefit, reducing the carbon intensity of the bitumen-recovery process and eliminating GHG emissions associated with current waste biomass disposal technologies.

In this role, you will be expected to:   

  • Evaluate biomass derived solvent for their ability to solubilize different hydrocarbon fractions with special attention to the potential for precipitating asphaltenes;
  • Investigate biochemical and thermochemical pathways at lab-scale to convert different biomass wastes into solvents;
  • Scale-up selected solvent production process;
  • Participate in the supervision of undergraduate and graduate students working on various aspects of this research theme; and,
  • Write research proposals, papers, and patent applications, and present research results at local and international conferences.

Postdoctoral Scholars are expected to apply for major funding opportunities they are eligible for (e.g. NSERC, Killam, AITF, Banting)


We welcome applications from candidates with a background in Chemical or Biochemical engineering or related disciplines with a strong interest in biomass conversion, piloting and process scale-up, and process optimization. Hands on experience in wet laboratories, assembly of pieces to build a set up, and hydrocarbon analysis is necessary. Previous experience in biochemical, environmental, or oil and gas processes is highly desirable.

You will be required to work within a team environment which requires excellent communication skills and the ability to work effectively with a diverse group of interdisciplinary researchers.

To be eligible as a Postdoctoral scholar at the University of Calgary, you must have been awarded a PhD or equivalent within the five (5) years immediately preceding the appointment. Please review the Postdoc Eligibility Guidelines for more information prior to applying for this position.

Application Details:

Interested candidates should email their current CV, statement of interests/cover letter indicating which area you are interested in, as well as your availability., and contact information for two to three references to Dr. Hector De la Hoz Siegler email .

The position is available immediately and the search will continue until the team is assembled. In assembling the CFREF and / or GRI research teams, aggressive diversity and equity targets are in place. Applications from under-represented groups are especially encouraged.

The University of Calgary recognizes that a diverse staff/faculty benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been historically encountered by some people in our society. We strive to recruit individuals who will further enhance our diversity and will support their professional success while they are here. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply, however preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.

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