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PhD opportunity

Using microorganisms to recover iron from water and wastewater treatment sludge.

More details

This PhD position offers an exciting opportunity to do pioneering research on the recovery of nutrients and metals from water treatment sludge to embrace the circular economy and protect our environment. Worldwide, the demand for iron salts for treatment is rapidly increasing as improved water quality targets are required, thus generating both a risk to supply and excess waste that needs disposal. This project combines microbiology, chemical engineering, and wastewater treatment principles to develop a proof-of-concept reactor that harnesses natural processes for resource recovery, enabling resilient and sustainable water treatment within planetary boundaries. 

The project aims to understand, improve and accelerate the use of microorganisms for iron-based coagulant recovery. The work will explore the conditions under which specific organisms can naturally cycle iron from waste into a recoverable product for local reuse, and propose ways to optimise this. As such, the ideal candidate will have a strong background in either microbiology or an engineering discipline, and a desire to apply it for a tangible environmental benefit. The work will be primarily in the laboratory, with frequent contact and opportunities for intellectual discussions with the expert team within Cranfield Water. 

  • Application deadline: 24 May 2023
  • Start date: 25 Sep 2023
  • Duration of award: 4 years
  • Eligibility: UK, Rest of World