PhD Studentship: Photocatalytic Nanostructured Anodic Metal Membranes For The Removal Of Organic Micropollutants From Water (FoAMM)

University of Bath - Department of Chemical Engineering

Supervisor: Prof Davide Mattia

The accumulation, in the environment and in human food supply chain, of organic micropollutants, highly toxic substances such as drugs, hormones or endocrine disruptors found at very low concentrations in water, represents today one of the biggest challenges to public health and the environment in the UK and other developed countries. Legacy technology comprising the majority of water treatment plants in the UK and other developed countries cannot remove micropollutants, requiring an additional treatment step to be added to the water treatment train. Alternative technologies currently being tested in the UK and abroad all have limitations, in terms of high energy costs or high capital costs or production of toxic by-products, which require further removal. Photocatalysis, considered the leading technology to treat micropollutants, suffers from a twin-set of limitations that have hindered more widespread adoption so far. Slurry reactors, where wastewater is mixed with a slurry of photocatalytic nanoparticles under UV illumination, can effectively degrade micropollutants but require costly downstream retention of the particles to avoid their leaching into the environment. Reactors with immobilised catalysts, on the other hand, have significantly lower activity due to lower contact area and higher light scattering.

This 3-year PhD project is provided as part of FoAMM, a 5-year EPSRC Established Career Fellow in Water Engineering awarded to Prof Davide Mattia. In this project, the challenge of safe micropollutant removal without significantly increasing carbon emissions or producing toxic by-products, will be addressed by creating novel photocatalytic nanostructured anodic metal membranes – or FoAMMs - combining the high surface area of slurries and the stability of immobilised systems requiring no downstream removal. The PhD project will focus on the initial development and testing of FoAMMs.

For inquiries please contact Prof Davide Mattia, phone: +44(0)1225-383961, email:

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Due to funding limitations, only UK/EU applicants can be considered. A Home/EU award will provide full tuition fees, an annual Training Support Fee and a tax-free maintenance payment of £14,553 (2017-8 rate) for up to 3 years.

Applicants should ideally have graduated (or be due to graduate) with an undergraduate Masters first class degree and/or MSc distinction (or equivalent overseas qualification)

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South West England