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PhD Studentship: Strategic Management of Direct Process Emissions for Achieving NET-ZERO in Wastewater Treatment Plants

Cranfield University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Cranfield
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £18,000 per year (tax free)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 7th December 2023
Closes: 3rd January 2024
Reference: SWEE0243

Start date: 29/01/2024

Type of studentship: Industrial funded 

Fee status of eligible applicants: UK and International 

Duration of Award if full time preferred*: 1 year 

1st Supervisor: Professor Ana Soares

Studentship funding

Sponsored by Severn Trent, this studentship provides a bursary up to £18,000/year (tax free) plus UK or overseas student university fees for the duration of the award (1 year).    

Type of opportunity

Fully-funded studentship - Opportunities which are fully funded (e.g. covers all fees and stipend)

This MSc by research offers an exciting opportunity to study one of our greatest challenges – climate change mitigation. Nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent ozone-depleting substance, significantly contributes to climate change with a global warming potential 310 times greater than carbon dioxide Addressing NET-ZERO targets mandates a focused reduction of N2O emissions.

Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) contribute significantly to total N2O emissions, primarily during nitrification and denitrification processes. Nitrous oxide is a direct scope 1 emission, and reducing it is essential. Previous studies have focused on investigating and assessing the effectiveness of various environmental control measures in nitrification and denitrification, including dissolved oxygen levels, temperature, pH, C/N ratio, sludge retention time, to mitigate N2O emissions from wastewater treatment plants. Some of these strategies, including improved instrumentation and control have yield some positive results, but benefits are limited. A novel approach to reducing N2O emissions is through the application of specific microorganisms and metabolic pathways in WWTPs that enable nitrogen management with lower greenhouse gas emissions. 

This project aims to identify and test novel microorganisms with the potential to generate lower or consume N2O, thereby reducing overall emissions, in comparison to commonly found microorganisms in activated sludge processes. To verify the scientific hypothesis, lab tests will be completed, resulting in the design and deployment of pilot-scale plant at a large wastewater treatment plant to verify and validate this approach. 

The project sponsor is Severn Trent Water. This is one of the largest of the 10 regulated water and sewerage companies in England and Wales, supplying water to circa 8 million people, and collecting and treating wastewater from circa 9 million people in the Midlands and mid-Wales regions of the UK. This MSc by Research position contributes to a larger project “Catalysing a NET-ZERO Future” (https://waterinnovation.challenges.org/winners/catalysing-a-net-zero-future-2/) sponsored by OFWAT and working alongside other partners Microvi Biotechnologies, and Jacobs, allowing for wider learning and interaction with the water industry.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first- or second-class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline such as biotechnology, microbiology, chemistry, engineering, or environmental science. The ideal candidate should have understanding of wastewater analysis, working with lab-scale and pilot-plants whilst following of working under health and safety regulations. The candidate should be self-motivated, have excellent oral and written communication skills. 

Funding

This studentship is open to UK and international applicants. However, we are only permitted to offer a limited number of studentships to applicants from outside the UK.

How to apply  

For further information please contact:      
Name: Professor Ana Soares
Email: a.soares@cranfield.ac.uk
 

For information about applications please contact: studywater@cranfield.ac.uk 

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