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Using porous materials to remove phosphorus from waste water

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, December 16, 2018
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Supervisory Team:
Lead supervisor - Professor Andrew Burrows, Department of Chemistry, University of Bath
Academic co-supervisor - Professor Tina Düren, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Bath
Industrial co-supervisor - Dr John Bagnall, Wessex Water

Urban waste water typically contains 5-20 mg L–1 of phosphorus, mostly in the form of phosphates, which is generally not recovered during water treatment and ultimately ends up in the sea. Although phosphorus is currently relatively cheap, there is a growing realisation that this wastage is unsustainable, and that improved ways of recycling phosphorus are required.

This project will explore the use of new types of porous materials to capture phosphorus from waste water with the ultimate aim of recovering it as a saleable commodity. A range of porous materials will be prepared and explored for this role, ranging from water-stable metal-organic frameworks to porous organic polymers. In all cases, the ability of the material to remove phosphate from aqueous solutions and waste waters will be assessed, as will the ease of recovery of phosphate from the host. The experimental studies will be underpinning by computational modelling which is designed both to rationalise observations and predict how changes to the materials will affect their ability to absorb and retain phosphate.

This project is supported by Wessex Water, and the PhD student will undertake a 3-6 month placement at Wessex Water during their studies.


Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or high Upper Second Class UK Honours degree (or the equivalent qualification gained outside the UK) in a relevant subject. A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.


Informal enquiries should be directed to Professor Andrew Burrows,

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form:

Please ensure that you quote the supervisor’s name and project title in the ‘Your research interests’ section.

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

Anticipated start date: 30 September 2019.

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project will be considered for a studentship sponsored by the University of Bath and Wessex Water. The studentship will cover UK/EU tuition fees, a training support fee of £1,000 per annum and a tax-free maintenance allowance at the UKRI Doctoral Stipend rate (£14,777 in 2018-19) for a period of up to 3.5 years.

How good is research at University of Bath in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.10

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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