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Fully Funded KESS II MSc by Research Scholarship: Tackling Acid Mine Drainage Pollutant through Solar Energy based Photoelectrocatalysis Technology

Swansea University - Materials Engineering

Location: Swansea
Salary: £11,586 p.a.
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 12th February 2019
Closes: 22nd February 2019

*This scholarships is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.*

This exciting and innovative MSc by Research project aims to develop renewable, multifunctional nanomaterial based catalyst for simultaneous environmental clean-up and energy generation.

Water pollutant treatment is a major challenge globally because extensive use of chemicals in various industries when discharged into water bodies affects the environment and public health healthcare. Mining has well-publicised deleterious environmental consequences and contributes greatly to destruction of landscapes and the pollution of waterbodies. Pollution from abandoned mines is mainly through the generation and uncontrolled release of acid mine drainage (AMD), either as point source discharges or from discrete diffuse pollution from for example spoil tips. Non-renewable energy based water treatment technologies are currently formulated for water pollutant removal from industrial waste, which are driven by oil, electricity and chemical processes. The depletion of fossil fuel resources and generation of by-products (CO2 and sludge wastes) provide ongoing sustainability challenges for these technologies. Passive treatment adopting compost based Reducing Alkalinity Procuring Systems as vertical flow ponds are also challenged by the need for large flat areas in upland terrain and regular system refurbishment (~10 years), which adds significantly to whole life costs. 

Solar energy driven photoelectrocatalysis is a renewable, and green approach in water treatment process. In particular, light-driven photoelectocatalyst (PEC) are highly energetic in degrading organic water pollutant in trace level. In this project we will demonstrate the feasibility of PEC technique in acid mine drainage pollutant degradation and developing electricity or fuel as beneficial by product. This project will be developed in collaboration with Natural Resources Wales and University College London. The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Dr Sudhagar Pitchaimuthu and Dr Ian Mabbat. The project will involve both lab and field based studies. The student will have the opportunity to acquire a range of skill sets including semiconductor coating techniques, chemical analysis (GC-MS, HPLC) from other collaborators (University College of London). The successful student will also utilise world-class material coating facilities available at SPECIFIC, College of Engineering, Swansea University.

Scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners including SME’s and micro companies, as well as public and third sector organisations. The scholarship provides 1 year funding with a 3 month period to complete the thesis. The achievement of a postgraduate skills development award, PSDA, is compulsory for each KESS II scholar and is based on a 30 credit award.


Academic requirements:

Candidates should have a 2.1 or above in their undergraduate degree material engineering/chemical engineering/physics/chemistry/ nanotechnology or a related subject. 

We would normally expect the academic and English Language requirements to be met by point of application. For details on the University’s English Language entry requirements, please visit –

Residency criteria:

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK/EU candidates only.

The scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend. The bursary will be limited to a maximum of £11,586 p.a. dependent upon the applicant’s financial circumstances.

There will also be additional funds available for research expenses.

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