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Fully Funded Welsh Water Dwr Cymru PhD Scholarship: Valorisation of Drinking Water Treatment Works Sludge

Swansea University - Chemical Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Swansea
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £16,081.95 p.a. annual stipend
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 2nd December 2022
Closes: 20th January 2023

Funding provider: Welsh Water Dŵr Cymru

Subject areas: Chemical Engineering

Project start date: 1 April 2023 (Enrolment open from mid–March)

Project description: 

The devotion of the UK water industry to achieve zero-carbon emissions and circular economy will require new approaches in operating the treatment processes and managing resources and residues. Thus, a shift from a commonly adopted linear model based on Take-Use-Discharge strategy to a circular approach is timely, required, and offers opportunity for commercial advantage. Resources reuse and valorisation of water treatment residues are key for the transition to a low carbon economy and a circular water industry.

Large volumes of sludge are generated as part of the purification process of potable water. In the UK alone, more than 130,000 tonnes (dry basis) of water treatment works sludge are produced yearly. This sludge is becoming increasingly difficult to manage not only because of the high volumes produced but also due to the limited disposal options available. Currently, about 80% of sludge generated from potable water treatment plants in the UK is recycled to land. However, such sludge contains huge amounts of valuable materials that could be recovered and reused either within the water and wastewater treatment processes or externally by other industries. Land banks used for sludge disposal are also diminishing, which will put pressure on the land disposal route. Thus, there is a need to find new cost-effective and sustainable ways of managing water sludges by releasing the value of sludges while reducing wastes and producing useful products from the sludge.

This PhD programme is funded by Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water) to explore new separation and reactive techniques based on new filters combined with hydrothermal and oxidation processes to release the value of materials in water sludges. The recovered materials could be ferric, aluminium, humic materials, phosphorous and trace metals. By using these products as raw materials rather than using the disposal route will align with Dwr Cymru’s Strategic Response 18: Promoting a Circular Economy and Combatting Climate Change as part of the company’s Water 2050 Vision. This project will have access to state-of-the-art facilities in the Water and Resources Recovery Research Lab and across the Faculty of Science and Engineering. Particularly, this project will have access to facilities supported by the recent Circular Economy Capital Fund received from the Welsh Government.  

Eligibility

Candidates must normally hold an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level or Master's degree with Merit (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University) in Engineering or similar relevant science discipline. 

English Language requirements: If applicable – If applicable – IELTS 6.5 overall (with at least 5.5 in each individual component) or Swansea recognised equivalent. 

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality. Please note, this scholarship covers the UK tuition fees only therefore successful international candidate is expected to cover the difference between UK and international tuition fees.

Funding

This scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees and an annual stipend of £16,081.95 for three years.

Additional research expenses will also be available.

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