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Waste engineering: developing solar sludge drying beds in the developing world

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  • Full or part time
    Dr K Briggs
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted

Project Description

An exciting opportunity has arisen to join our Centre for Doctoral Training in Decarbonisation of the Built Environment, to undertake a three-year doctoral programme in low-carbon technologies, starting in October 2015. Interviews will be held at the University of Bath on a rolling basis, up until July 2015.

Project overview

Principal supervisor: Dr Kevin Briggs
Second supervisor: Dr Lee Bryant
Industrial supervisor: Dr Celia Way, Buro Happold

In rural areas within Bangladesh, human waste is routinely emptied, untreated, into the local environment this has health implications. Buro Happold Engineering, a global consultancy based in Bath, has developed innovative solar sludge-drying beds to treat faecal sludge at a pilot site in Bangladesh. The drying beds are a low-carbon solution which uses no electrical power and can be built with minimal construction skills and from local materials.

The performance of the solar drying beds is affected by the ambient weather (solar radiation, humidity, temperature) and the material properties of the faecal sludge are currently not well understood. Therefore there is some uncertainty as to how the solution will perform during different seasons, at other locations across Bangladesh, and/or in other countries.

This project will use laboratory testing of faecal sludge to improve our understanding of its mechanical properties and drying behaviour. A drying model will be developed to compare with field measurements and to assess the performance of the solar drying beds. Results from this project will enable engineers to optimise the design and management of waste treatment facilities. Background information on this project can be found at

Applicants will have knowledge and practical experience in environmental science, engineering in developing countries and/or civil engineering. You should be numerate and have a 1st class or upper 2nd class honours first degree in Engineering or the Physical Sciences. You must be able to work independently, build new links with external organisations and work well with others.

Interested applicants should contact Dr Kevin Briggs ([Email Address Removed]) in the first instance. Applicants should apply online ( by selecting the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, and then choosing a full-time PhD in Architecture or Civil Engineering.

Research environment

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Decarbonisation of the Built Environment (dCarb) was launched in 2014 to address the challenge set by the UK to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. The Centre carries out multidisciplinary research into the design and creation of zero-carbon technologies that will potentially transform the future of our built environment. Find out more about the Centre at

The Centre is based in the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering at the University of Bath. The Department was ranked equal first in the UK out of 45 submissions to the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). Half of its research achieved the top 4* rating, the highest percentage awarded to any submission; and an impressive 90% of research was rated as either 4* or 3* (world leading/ internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour).

Funding Notes

Home or EU tuition fees paid in full for three years

• Annual stipend of £14,000 (2015/16 rate) for living expenses
• training support grant of £1,000 per year (for travel, consumables, etc.)

Please note, Overseas applicants will have to pay the difference between the home and overseas fees.

Find out more about dCarb at

How good is research at University of Bath in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 28.38

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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