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Sustainable Water Desalination by Capacitive Deionization

Department of Chemical Engineering

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Dr Junjie Shen No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
Bath United Kingdom Chemical Engineering Civil Engineering Ecotoxicology Environmental Chemistry Environmental Engineering Mechanical Engineering Nanotechnology

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following PhD project commencing in October 2021.

Funding is available to candidates who qualify for ‘Home’ fee status. Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the rules governing fee status have changed and, therefore, candidates from the EU/EEA are advised to check their eligibility before applying. Please see the Funding Eligibility section below for more information.

Project Team: Dr Junjie Shen, Professor Frank Marken

Informal queries should be directed to: Dr Junjie Shen ([Email Address Removed])


Capacitive deionization (CDI) is an emerging desalination technology, which uses porous electrodes to adsorb ions from water by applying a low voltage between two electrodes. It has several unique advantages compared to established desalination technologies, such as low energy consumption, no use of chemicals, and large water recovery. This PhD project will focus on developing an innovative CDI system to ensure selective ion removal and self-sustained operation with minimal maintenance requirement. Thus, it is a potentially sustainable approach to supplying safe drinking water from water sources with specific ionic contaminations, such as fluoride and arsenic. The following research objectives have been designed:

1. Develop novel carbon electrode materials with enhanced ion selectivity and sorption capacity.

2. Design, implement, and field test a portable CDI system powered by renewable energy.

3. Evaluate environmental impacts of the CDI system using life cycle assessment (LCA).

The successful PhD candidate will join the University of Bath’s Centre for Advanced Separations Engineering (CASE), which is the largest separations research centre in the UK focused on developing and deploying advanced separations technologies across a wide range of sectors

( The PhD candidate will also join the Water Innovation and Research Centre (WIRC@Bath), which provides a unique environment to engage globally in research and policy on water technologies and resource management.

Candidate Requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second Class Honours degree (or the equivalent). A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.


Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Please ensure that you state the full project title and lead supervisor name on the application form.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Expected start date: 4 October 2021

Funding Eligibility:

In order to be considered for a studentship, you must qualify as a ‘Home’ student. The UK Government has not yet published the relevant Fee Regulations for courses commencing in 2021/22; however, our current understanding is that the main categories of students likely to qualify for ‘Home’ fees are (subject to confirmation by the UK Government):

·        UK nationals (meeting residency requirement*)

·        Irish nationals resident in the UK/Ireland since at least September 2018

·        EU/EEA applicants with settled or pre-settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme (meeting residency requirement*)

·        Applicants with indefinite leave to enter/remain in the UK (meeting residency requirement*)

*Residency requirement: in most cases applicants must have lived in the UK, EU, EEA or Switzerland continuously since September 2018.

EU/EEA citizens who live outside the UK are unlikely to be eligible for ‘Home’ fees and funding.

Up-to-date information may be found on our fee status guidance webpage and on the UKCISA website

Funding Notes

A studentship includes ‘Home’ tuition fees, a stipend (£15,609 per annum, 2021/22 rate) and research/training expenses (£1,000 per annum) for up to 3.5 years.
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