This opportunity is now closed.

Funded PhD Opportunity

Electrolytic and Photoelectrolytic Decontamination of Wastewater / Chemical engineering and wastewater treatment

Subject: Engineering


Summary

One quarter of the World population commonly drink water that is not safe.  Many countries are experiencing water stress and this will exacerbated due to increasing population and climate change. Pollution of existing fresh water sources is a major problem.  Contaminants of Emerging Concerns (CECs) such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products, pesticides, and other pollutants, including pathogens, antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARBs) and genes (ARGs) have been reported to be present in sewage effluent and drinking water.

There is a need for the development of novel technologies that can effectively remove or degrade these CECs.  Photoelectrolytic (or electrochemically assisted photocatalytic) treatment of water is an innovative approach for the tertiary treatment of wastewater.

The main aim of this PhD project will be to develop a novel photoelectrochemical cell for the removal of contaminants of emerging concern from wastewater. This will involved the design and fabrication of a reactor that can treat up to 10 L of wastewater (tertiary treatment), and to test this reactor for the removal of model organic pollutants (pharmaceuticals/antibiotics) and disinfection resistant microorganisms.

The main objectives of this project are:

-Extensive literature review concerning CECs, disinfection resistant microorgansisms, and photoelectrolytic processes for water treatment.

-Modelling and design of a photoelectrolytic reactor for the treatment of wastewater.

-Testing of the system using model pollutants and model microorganisms, and validation of reaction modelling

-Determination of the main reactive oxygen species and reaction mechanisms involved.

-Development of a prototype system that can treat real wastewater (following secondary sewage treatment).

The data and results of this research will be published in high impact peer reviewed journals. The main novelty of this proposal is the development of a pilot system based on photoelectrolytic processes  for tertiary treatment of wastewater for the removal of CECs, allowing reuse of the water.

This project aligns with the recently awarded H2020-PANIWATER (Total funding €5.06M, PI Dr Fernandez), which primarily addresses UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 ‘Ensure access to water and sanitation for all’. PANIWATER is a multidisciplinary research project where several European and Indian partners will collaborate in research novel technologies for the treatment of water and wastewater with the aim of reducing water stress and water scarcity in India.  This will allow for the PhD student to be integrated into a large multidisciplinary team. The proposal addresses the Ulster 5 & 50 strategic themes of Healthy Communities, Sustainability and Social Renewal.   There is significant opportunity for impact through the PANIWATER network leading to real outcomes for India.


Essential criteria

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.

Funding

    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:

    Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

    Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

    Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,500 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

    Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 18 February 2019

Interview Date
March 2019


Applying

Apply Online  


Campus

Jordanstown campus

Jordanstown campus
The largest of Ulster's campuses


Contact supervisor

Dr Pilar Fernandez-Ibanez


Other supervisors

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