EPSRC PhD - Optimal Bioelectrochemical System (BES) design through Computational Fluid Dynamics

Newcastle University

Value of award

UK citizens are eligible for 100% of UK tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,553 (full award).  EU citizens from outside the UK are eligible for fees only (partial award).

Number of awards


Start date and duration

September 2018 for 3 years.

Application closing date

31 March 2018.


The goal of this project is to deliver energy-neutral wastewater treatment at the scale of existing treatment facilities. The successful applicant will optimise the design of Bioelectrochemical Systems (BES) by using mathematical perturbation techniques and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to maximise the efficiency of flow and recovery of energy transfers. BES are a newly developing technology, which employ naturally occurring bacteria to digest wastes in a battery like cell, releasing electrons and therefore current. We have demonstrated that this technology can work under real-world conditions at pilot scale, however energy recovery has been poor, and the systems are far from optimised. This research will model the flow of wastewater at the system-scale to design an experimental geometry that maximises the recovery of energy transfers.

More details about the project and the skills that the successful candidate will acquire during the PhD programme are available at this link here.


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr Elizabeth Heidrich, School of Engineering

Dr Toby Wood, School of Mathematics

Dr David Werner, School of Engineering  

Eligibility Criteria

Your background should be in engineering or mathematics (minimum 2:1 honours degree or international equivalent). Knowledge of fluid dynamics or computational modelling would be desirable.

You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree or international equivalent, in Civil Engineering, Structures, Mathematics or a related subject.

The studentships are open to applicants satisfying EPSRC home/UK or EU fee criteria, and are eligible for home fees. EU candidates may only be available for a partial award.

English language skills (if English is not your native language): an overall score of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent, with individual scores of 6.0 in each of the four sub-skills: writing, reading, speaking and listening.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’.

All relevant fields should be completed, but fields marked with a red asterisk must be completed. The following information will help us to process your application. You will need to:

  • Insert the programme code 8040F in the programme of study section
  • Select PhD in Civil Engineering (FT) - Civil Engineering (Environmental) as the programme of study
  • Insert the studentship code ENG014 in the studentship/partnership reference field
  • Attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code ENG014 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
  • Attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.

You should also send your covering letter and CV to Dr Elizabeth Heidrich by email to elizabeth.heidrich@ncl.ac.uk


For further details, please contact: Dr Elizabeth Heidrich:  elizabeth.heidrich@ncl.ac.uk, telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1234

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Northern England