Research group: Water and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment
Deadline: Applications will be accepted at any time until the position is filled.Â
Hydrogen is a kind of clean energy carrier which is preferred and demanded in many areas especially with the rapid development of fuel cell for electricity generation. Utilizing wastewater as organic feedstock for hydrogen production through biological route is gaining importance due to the benefits of simultaneous wastewater purification and renewable energy production in view of sustainable development. Hydrogen production rate and yield from wastewater, however, are too low to exercise in the practice. One of the causes is poor retention of the suspended sludge in the continuously operated reactor. In addition, fermentative hydrogen production alone cannot obtain the positive energy recovery as well as high COD removal efficiency. To overcome these constraints, hydrogen production followed by methane generation with high biomass retention in the reactor could allow the cost-effective wastewater treatment with clean energy production.
This PhD project aims to develop two-stage hydrogen and methane production process with microbial granular sludge, which is self-immobilized microorganisms without relying on any carrier media under certain conditions. The specific objectives of this project include i) form and enhance granulation of suspended sludge for hydrogen and methane production, respectively. ii) investigate the formation mechanism of hydrogen producing granules iii) correlate hydrogen/methane production with sludge characteristics iv) target at the highest overall energy recovery and COD removal efficiency by optimising coupling of two stages. Since diverse groups of microorganisms are involved for a series complex biochemical reactions during the process of hydrogen and methane production, the metabolic interaction between various groups of microorganisms especially with bacteria aggregation involved is essential and in-depth understanding on synergy of microorganisms under different conditions is required for successful reactor operation.
If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Yongqiang Liu, Water and Environmental Engineering research group, Email: Y.Liu@soton.ac.uk, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 2843.