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PhD in Future Proofing Sludge Treatment Centres for AMP7 and Beyond

Cranfield University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Cranfield
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: This Doctoral Training Partnership studentship will provide a bursary of up to £18,000 (tax-free) plus UK Home student fees for three years.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 16th September 2021
Closes: 26th November 2021
Reference: SWEE0159

Fee status of eligible applicants: UK only

Duration: 3 years

1st Supervisor: Dr Yadira Bajón Fernández; 2nd Supervisor: Dr Ying Jiang   

Start date: 31 Jan 2022

Sponsored by the EPSRC, Severn Trent Water and Cranfield University, this Doctoral Training Partnership studentship will provide a bursary of up to £18,000 (tax-free) plus UK Home student fees for three years.

This prestigious EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership award, co-funded by the industrial partner, Severn Trent Water, provides a three-year fully-funded PhD studentship. The successful candidate will work within a multi-disciplinary team supported by both academic and industry supervisors on research that aims to evaluate the extent to which anaerobic digestion can be used to treat sludge mixtures with a high surplus activated sludge (SAS) to primary sludge (PS) ratio, whilst maintaining optimal treatment efficiency and stability; and to assess potential of entirely new treatment options that can future-proof sludge treatment centres.

This PhD project will address the following research objectives:

  1. Identifying research gaps for anaerobic digestion of wastewater sludge with high SAS to PS ratio, including potential causes for process failure, optimisation strategies and implication on foaming and biosolids dewaterability.
  2. Characterisation of PS and SAS from extensive sampling from full-scale sludge treatment centres, while capturing relevant process information influencing sludge properties.
  3. Experimentally evaluating the digestibility of sludge with varying SAS to PS ratios and identify factors influencing stability as well as propose and test optimisation strategies to improve the digestion efficiency.
  4. Investigate alternative treatment options to AD and implications of new associated value recovery routes and energy vectors for the sector. 

Severn Trent Water (STW) is one of the largest regulated water and wastewater businesses in England and Wales providing services to more than 4.5 million households and businesses. They are a national leader in university / industry collaboration with a well-established, productive research relationship with Cranfield University.

This project delivers against the strategic needs in the area of bioresources of one of the UK’s major water utilities, with support from stakeholders from Severn Trent’s Innovation and Bioresources teams. You will become a member of ST’s Bioresources community of practice, where you will be exposed to stakeholders from across the business and deliver regular updates on project findings. You will also learn about current sludge management and treatment practices by visiting sludge treatment centres and interacting with site practitioners.

You will have the opportunity to work alongside the industry sponsor and gain significant experience in industrial research and development. It is expected that you will attend and present at national and international conferences.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline. This project would suit an applicant with a strong interest on environment engineering and development of sustainable treatment solutions, who is keen on industry-academic collaboration and on applied research. Applicants with a background on biology, chemistry, engineering, water science or environmental science will be particularly well suited for this project.

How to apply

If you are eligible to apply for this studentship, please complete the online application form on our website. PhD in Future proofing sludge treatment centres for AMP7 and beyond (           

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