|Funding for tuition fees and a living stipend are available on a competitive basis. Funding will be awarded on a rolling basis, so apply early for the best opportunity to be considered.
|29th November 2023
|31st August 2024
Project title: Bioaugmentation to enhance biological phosphorus removal from wastewater
Supervisory Team: Yongqiang Liu
Phosphorus is an indispensable element for sustaining life, yet it is finite and non-renewable. While phosphorus is used primarily in fertilizers, much of it ends up in municipal wastewater through runoff and blackwater, causing eutrophication and exerting significant pressure on ecosystems. Thus, it is crucial to remove phosphorus from municipal wastewater before its discharge into nature. Furthermore, it is estimated that the phosphorus content in sewage could potentially replace up to 50% of the chemical phosphorus fertilizers in agriculture. Therefore, recovering phosphorus from municipal wastewater is vital for establishing a closed-loop phosphorus recycling system within a circular economy, addressing phosphorus depletion and emission challenges for sustainable development.
Currently, most wastewater treatment plants rely on chemical precipitation to reduce phosphorus levels in municipal wastewater to meet phosphorus discharge consent, which limits phosphorus recovery because phosphorus becomes fixed in precipitates and hard to recover. Conversely, biological phosphorus removal not only eliminates the need for chemicals, but also enables phosphorus recovery feasible and easy by releasing ortho-phosphate into the liquid in the subsequent sludge digestion process. Unfortunately, the unstable and suboptimal performance of biological phosphorus removal hinders its widespread adoption, especially when compared to chemical phosphorus precipitation methods. Various process configurations for enhancing biological phosphorus removal have been developed, yet none have fundamentally addressed the performance and stability issues.
In this project, you will investigate the key phosphorus and nitrogen removal bacteria in bioreactors treating municipal wastewater and their interaction for nutrient and carbon removal. Building on this knowledge, you will develop an effective bioaugmentation approach to manipulate microbial community to enhance biological nutrient removal performance and improve nutrient removal stability. In the project, you will be trained to set up and operate bioreactors for wastewater treatment, do analysis of both sludge and water by using various analytical instruments, and conduct bioinformatic analysis.
Candidates with degrees in environmental engineering, bioengineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, microbiology, or related fields are preferred. However, applicants with other relevant engineering or science backgrounds and a strong interest in wastewater treatment and resource recovery are also encouraged to apply. You will be part of the Water and Environmental Engineering Group in the School of Engineering, and collaborate with an industrial partner if needed.
A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).
Closing date: 31 August 2024. Applications will be considered in the order that they are received, the position will be considered filled when a suitable candidate has been identified.
Funding: Funding for tuition fees and a living stipend are available on a competitive basis. Funding will be awarded on a rolling basis, so apply early for the best opportunity to be considered.
How To Apply
Apply online: Search for a Postgraduate Programme of Study (soton.ac.uk). Select programme type (Research), 2024/25, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, next page select “PhD Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Yongqiang Liu
Applications should include:
Two reference letters
Degree Transcripts/Certificates to date
For further information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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