PhD Studentship - Design of Simple and Effective Rural Drinking Water Treatment Systems using Solar Light – SODIS3D

University of Bath - Chemical Engineering

Supervisor name: Emma Emanuelsson

Email contact:

Research Centre: RACE

The aim of this project is to design effective and simple water treatment systems for rural drinking water in Asia/Africa. You will be optimising and designing reactors (or flow systems) for drinking water treatment using 3D printing and a unique cutting edge Swedish indoor solar light set-up that replicates pure sunlight (the only research installation of this in the UK), allowing you to perform solar light research under controlled conditions.

Although the millennium goal 7b to halve by 2015 the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation have been met there is still 650 million people without safe water and 315000 children under five die every year from diarreah. There is thus a huge need to develop decentralised water treatment systems that require little maintenance for rural communities that struggle with both water quality, disposal and a distribution systems.

The simplest way to treat rural drinking water is to deactivate microbes through a combination of heat (from the solar light) and the UV-light using PET bottles, so called Sodis bottles. The aim of this project is to build on this and to develop a more efficient and reliable treatment system at low cost, using 3D-printing to develop proteotypes – the SODIS3D. You will design, develop and optimise a range of reactor systems taking into account for example ease of operation and construction, price, light intensity per surface area and residence time. You will also be comparing reactor systems with and without immobilized photocatalysts.

You will be working with experienced supervisors in (Chemical & Civil Engineering) and as the project is multi-disciplinary you will also be working closely with social scientist (at the University of Bath) and in Malawi. You will learn how to design and develop new reactor types, get an appreciation of trade-offs between small and intermediate scale and to apply a range of analytical tools such as GC,HPLC, SEM, FTIR. You will also use ‘design of experiments’ and ‘reaction progress kinetics’ to design and evaluate your experiments.

Prospective candidates are encouraged to contact Dr Emma Emanuelsson ( directly for further details.

Prospective students should hold or expect to gain a UG First Class /MSc Distinction in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or related discipline, or the equivalent from an overseas institution.


Home/EU awards cover tuition fees, training support fee of £1,000/annum, and stipend of at least £14,553 (17/8 rate) for a duration of 3-3.5 years.

English language requirements must be satisfied in advance of an offer of funding, by IELTS (International English Language Testing System) with an overall band score of 6.5 and a minimum of 6.0 per skill.

Preferred start date

1st October 2018

Application Deadline

16th March 2018

PhD in Chemical Engineering

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