The University of Wyoming, Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, is recruiting a doctoral seeking student with an anticipated start date in August 2016. The student will work on a recently awarded project that will focus on the characterization and extraction of rare earth elements (REEs) and precious metals in brines generated from oil and natural gas production sites (produced water). This is a collaborative project between the University of Wyoming, Idaho National Laboratory, and the U.S. Geological Survey. The student will work within the recently established Center of Excellence in Produced Water Management (CEPWM) at the University of Wyoming. The graduate student will work with project partners to characterize produced waters in terms of their REE/precious metal compositions and concentrations as a function of the originating formation geology, water quality and other properties. Using this and other information the student will identify, develop and evaluate treatment processes for concentrating and ultimately extracting REEs/precious metals from produced waters to facilitate their ultimate refining. Economic and environmental sustainability analyses will also be developed to assess the feasibility of these processes.
Desired candidate qualifications include familiarity with inorganic and organic chemistry and physicochemical separation processes such as membrane processes, solvent-solvent extraction, and crystallization. The candidate should be familiar with analytical chemistry techniques such as ICP-OES and ICP-MS. Material characterization will also be a prominent part in this project and so experience or familiarity with techniques such as TGA, XPS, XRD, NMR, IR, SEC, SEM, AFM, viscosity testing, and water sorption/permeation are desirable. A BS or MS degree in civil/environmental engineering, materials science, chemical engineering or a closely related field is required. Candidates with previous experience in separation processes and hands on skills in polymeric membrane synthesis techniques (e.g., thin film, flat sheet, hollow-fiber, composite, asymmetric, porous, coatings) and characterization are particularly encouraged to apply. Applicants should be proficient in English and a proven ability to work productively and independently. The appointment includes tuition, stipend, and health benefits. Applicants should have a strong academic record and excellent English communication skills. Please send your CV with the names and contact information of two academic references to Dr. Jonathan Brant by email at email@example.com. Additional information about the University of Wyoming may be found at www.uwyo.edu and the Center of Excellence in Produced Water Management at www.cepwm.com.