Biorefinery applications for near- and super-critical extraction

Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Kameron Dunn
Senior Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Dr Mark Harrison
Senior Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Ever wondered how decaffeinated coffee is made? It's made using an advanced extraction process called supercritical fluid extraction.

Nearcritical and supercritical fluid extraction is a clean, 'green' extraction process with potential application to the extraction of a wide range of high value food, fine chemical and pharmaceutical products from existing agricultural, food industry and biorefinery feedstocks.

However, the specific extraction conditions for any given product need to be carefully tailored to the specific feedstock to ensure maximum extraction efficiency at the lowest cost.

Research activities

You will have the opportunity to develop nearcritical and supercritical extraction processes for one or more of the following target products from a range of biorefinery feedstocks:

  • prebiotic oligosaccharides for food and feed applications
  • anti-inflammatory proanthocyanadins
  • fragrances
  • edible oils from food processing residues
  • feed additives from microbial biomass
  • glucosinolates from Brassica species
  • waxes from crop residues.


The aim of the project is to understand the chemistry of nearcritical and supercritical fluid extraction of specific classes of compounds and apply that understanding to the development of commercial processes.

Skills and experience

Your application will be well regarded if you have experience in one or more of the following scientific fields and strong practical skills:

  • nearcritical and supercritical fluid extraction
  • analytical chemistry
  • biorefining
  • advanced chemical separation
  • functional testing of pure compounds and mixtures of compounds in biological systems.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round


Contact Mark Harrison for more information.