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Phenolic compounds removal from the petroleum industries wastewater

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Phenolic compounds (phenols) found in the wastewater of various industries (oil refineries, petrochemicals, ceramic, steel, coal conversion, phenolic, pharmaceuticals) can result in significant health and environmental problems. Removal/ degradation of phenols has been attempted via many physical, chemical and biological methods, which have not posed a profound advantage on one another. Research on both membranes technologies (such as anion exchange membranes and nanofiltration/reverse osmosis membranes) and photocatalytic nanoparticles showed that the former exhibited low rejection levels of small organic molecules such as phenols while the latter effectively degraded phenolic compounds. Analytical tests will characterise and assess the performance and improvement of different nanocatalytic membranes, which apply to the photocatalytic degradation of phenol model compounds found in wastewater under different operating conditions (e.g. phenol concentration and pH).

Structure and testing of advanced polymeric materials that will apply to the catalysis of phenols found in industrial wastewaters will underline the importance of advanced materials engineering underscored by chemical engineering processes in terms of nanocatalytic membranes formation, optimisation and testing.

Applications are invited from graduates in chemical engineering, chemistry or a closely related subject holding a 2.1 (or equivalent) degree. Applicants should meet the university’s requirements for English language proficiency.


Argurio, P., Fontananova, E., Molinari, R. and E. Drioli. 2018. Review Photocatalytic Membranes in Photocatalytic Membrane Reactors Processes. 6: 162-189.

Low, Z.-X., Chua, Y. T., Ray, B. M., Mattia D., Metcalfe I. S., Patterson D. A.. 2017. Perspective on 3D printing of separation membranes and comparison to related unconventional fabrication techniques. J Membrane Sci 523: 596–613

Goh, P.S., Ismail, A.F., Hilal, N. 2016. Nano-enabled membranes technology: Sustainable and revolutionary solutions for membrane desalination? Desalination. 380: 100-104

Villegas, L., Mashhadi, N., Chen, M., Mukherjee, D., Taylor, K. and Biswas, N. 2016. A short review of techniques for phenol removal from wastewater. Current Pollution Reports, 2(3): 157-167

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