PhD Studentship: Dye wastewater treatment through bio-electro-Fenton in bioelectrochemical system

University of Southampton - Faculty of Engineering and the Environment

Biological technology is an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective technology for wastewater treatment. However, it is not very efficient for organic compounds removal such as dyes and other recalcitrant compounds. Electrochemical Advanced Oxidation Processes (EAOPs) are more effective for removing recalcitrant organic compounds from industrial effluents such as textile wastewaters containing dyes. Compared with biological treatment, however, EAOPs are much more costly and energy intensive. In order to take full advantage of both biological and EAOP treatments, a bioelectrochemical system (BES), i.e. using bio-electro-Fenton, is proposed in this project.

The project includes the design and manufacture of a two-compartment (anodic and cathodic) BES laboratory-scale reactor. Through such a system, biodegradable wastewater, fed into the anodic compartment, can generate electrons using microorganisms. These electrons can drive the electro-Fenton reaction for dye wastewater treatment in the cathodic compartment. This BES combines electro-Fenton and microbial fuel cell, thus the success of such systems greatly depends on an effective integration of electro-Fenton and electricity production to obtain an energy efficient dye treatment performance at low cost. The project includes the investigation of the appropriate cathode and anode electrodes, the cationic membrane, the substrate and type of microorganisms and the optimal operational conditions. The BES laboratory-scale reactor is an innovative system and the student will acquire transferable knowledge in both the combination of water treatment and energy generation.


If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Yongqiang Liu, Water and Environmental Engineering Research Group, email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 2843.


Funding: Please note that the project supervisor is currently seeking funding for this project. Self-funded applicants are welcome.

To Apply: Please complete an application for a PhD in Engineering and the Environment using the following link:

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South East England