Developing ultrasonically enhanced recycling of photovoltaics

   School of Engineering

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  Dr Paul Prentice, Dr Andrew Feeney , Prof Jeff Kettle  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

A PhD studentship based at the Centre for Medical and Industrial Ultrasonics (C-MIU), and aligned to the EU Horizon funded APOLLO (A Proactive Approach to the Recovery and Recycling of Photovoltaic Modules) project, is available.

Electronic waste (E-waste) is a rapidly growing problem for our consumerist society. There is an increasingly urgent need to develop sustainable and economically viable approaches to reclaiming technology critical materials from E-waste, vital to decarbonising and realising a circular economy.

You will actively contribute to the development of ultrasonic techniques for efficient and high-throughput ‘sono-recycling’ of photovoltaic modules, enhancing the function of environmentally-friendly solvents tailored to chemically target key component materials. An overriding objective will be up-scaling of the technology to industrially relevant levels.

The project will include aspects of ultrasound transducer design and optimisation, cavitation characterisation (via state-of-the-art high-speed imaging, amongst other techniques) and in-line acoustic detection, solvent preparation/development, reactor design/refinement and technoeconomic analysis of developed processes. Training will be provided by internationally-leading experts in their respective fields.


The successful candidate will work with the University of Glasgow APOLLO investigator team, including Dr Paul Prentice, Dr Andrew Feeney, Prof David Flynn and Prof Jeff Kettle. You will also have regular interaction with key academic collaborators at the University of Leicester, Prof Karl Ryder and Prof Andy Abbott, as well as multiple industrial project partners and stakeholders.

Candidate requirements

UK candidates with a background in engineering, physics or chemistry are welcome to apply. A minimum of an Upper Second Class (2:1) Honours degree is required (by start date of October 2024). Candidates with First Class (1:1) Honours, MEng and MSci degrees, or postgraduate MSc with Distinction will be prioritised.

Exceptionally well qualified international candidates, with relevant publication track record, may also be considered.

Applicants for whom English is not their first language, will need an IELTS (International English Language Testing System, or equivalent) with an overall score >7.0.

Please direct initial enquiries to Dr Paul Prentice ([Email Address Removed]) and Dr Andrew Feeney ([Email Address Removed]) as soon as possible, attaching your CV to the email.

More information on applying for a PhD at the University of Glasgow is available here.

Chemistry (6) Engineering (12) Materials Science (24) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

Competition funded PhD project, open to well qualified and highly motivated Home and exceptional International fee status students.


Zante et al, Journal of Cleaner Production, 370 133552, 2022, Efficient recycling of metals from solar cell using catalytic etchants. (
Jacobson et al, Ultrasonics Sonochemistry, 101 106701, 2023, A mechanistic study identifying improved technology critical metal delamination from printed circuit boards at lower power sonications in a deep eutectic solvent. (

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