PhD Studentship Electrochemical Recovery of Metal from Polluted Land, "Enabling the Recovery of Metals from Pollutants"

Supervisor: Dr Rohit Bhagat

Project Overview: It is currently possible to use plants to accumulate and concentrate metals from soil. However a method to extract metals from these plants is as yet unrealised. If a method were to be identified then these plants could be used to remove contamination from land. The resulting contaminated biomass would then be processed to recovery the metals for use by industry.

An example of this is Chernobyl, where hemp is being used to decontaminate the land from the radioactive metals present. Unfortunately the hemp is currently landfilled, as there is no sustainable method to process the contaminated plant biomass.

This project is focussed on creating a molten salt process capable of processing this contaminated biomass. Finally this process, in combination with metal accumulators plant, will be used to decontaminate land in the UK and globally.


  • Liaise with current industrial partners: Severn Trent, the nuclear waste research forum, CL:AIRE to understand the remediation needs in the UK. 
  • Demonstrate metal transfer from biomass into the molten salt during pyrolysis. 
  • Build the molten salt process that extracts metals from biomass. 
  • Extract high purity metal from naturally occurring biomass at a contaminated site and supply this metal to industrial partners. 
  • Work with industrial partners to deploy the technology on contaminated land.

Awards available:  1 award available.

Funding Details:  Fees and maintenance at RCUK Level

Length of Award: 3 years (PhD)

Eligibility: For funding requirements the applicant should be eligible as a UK/EU student

Application Details: Applicants should have a First Class UK honour degree or equivalent, in a relevant discipline such as Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or Material Science.

Experience of molten salts, thermodynamics, electrochemistry or a MSc in a relevant subject is highly desirable.

Any enquiries relating to the application process should be directed to Jennifer Kirkwood at 

For further information, please visit the apply button below

Deadline:  30 November 2013

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