E.U./U.K. nationals: PhD Studentship: Resource Recovery from Municipal Wastewater with Forward Osmosis Membrane Based Process

University of Southampton

Southampton, , GB

Supervisor:                 Yongqiang Liu (WEEG) 

Project description

In modern society, municipal wastewater needs to be purified to remove organic carbon pollutants and nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus before discharge into natural water bodies to protect environment and human health. As one of the most important and essential infrastructures, municipal wastewater treatment plants are well known for their large footprint, intensive energy and chemical consumption. Although various technologies have been studied to harness resources in wastewater such as anaerobic digestion for energy recovery, struvite crystallisation for nutrient recovery and reverse membrane for water recovery to reduce environment impact of wastewater treatment, to make useful products and to drive treatment towards sustainability, the highly diluted nature of municipal wastewater make these technologies unfeasible or too costly. Forward osmosis (FO) membrane filtration driven by osmotic pressure attracts intense attention recently for wastewater preconcentration to allow a direct use of the above-mentioned technologies for resource recovery. Thus, a promising prospect of forward osmosis filtration as a key unit to design next-generation wastewater treatment plants can be expected due to its smaller footprint, more flexible operation, lower membrane fouling propensity and lower energy consumption if draw solution is well selected and the process is well designed. However, most studies focus on single or a few of model chemicals to investigate FO membrane filtration. The study on chemistry of wastewater, and interactive relationship between chemistry of wastewater and draw solution, and their effects on flux, membrane fouling and cleaning, pollutant rejection, is lacking, which makes the real-world application of FO membrane for wastewater treatment challenging. This PhD project will dedicate to this with the ultimate goal to allow energy, nutrient and water recovery cost effective and sustainable. We have been carrying out relevant research in this area, and hope you could join to further this research. 

Key Skills: Background of chemical engineering or environmental engineering or chemistry is preferred. 

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent). 

Closing Date: Applications should be received no later than 31 August 2020 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place. 

Funding: Full tuition fees for EU/UK students plus for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £15,009 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

How To Apply 

Applications should be made online here selecting “PhD Eng & Env (Full time)” as the programme. Please enter Yongqiang Liu under the proposed supervisor. 

Applications should include:

Research Proposal

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/how-to-apply/postgraduate-applications.page 

For further information please contact: [email protected] 





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