Development of a slow-release fertiliser from digestate using alkali silicates (PhD Scholarship)

Development of a slow-release fertiliser from digestate using alkali silicates

Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science at the University of South Wales

Project ID: 21482
Annual Stipend: circa £14 k p.a.
Application Deadline: 
25 November 2018

PhD wedi’i gyllido yw hwn, sy’n cynnwys cyflog hael a ffioedd dysgu, gydag amgylchiadau sydd â digon o adnoddau ar gyfer ysgoloriaeth lwyddiannus. This is a funded PhD, including a generous stipend and tuition fees, with well-resourced circumstances for a successful scholarship.

Here is an exciting opportunity to create and study a new agricultural nutrient recovery process which could lead to entirely new approaches in energy and environmental resource management.

The selected candidate will apply their practical and problem-solving skills and ambition to develop and demonstrate the preparation of a high performance fertiliser from low quality waste organic streams. This will allow the student to develop transferable knowledge and skills in this most exciting and active field of chemistry and soil nutrient research.

This Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS) project will be held in the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science at the University of South Wales. KESS is a programme funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) awarded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) in the Welsh Government. The project will focus on energy and environmental resource management, since these have been identified as key areas to the economy and people of the East Wales region.

The project is backed by RecoTech Ltd., a company ‘start up’ dedicated to developing innovative ways to transform agricultural and digestate bi-product into soil conditioning fertilisers beneficial to soil health. The companies’ founders are experienced industrial engineers with interests in organic agriculture.

Programme of research:

Anaerobic digestion is a well-established technology that can be used to treat organic wastes and yield useful energy and chemical products. The process yields an organic fraction known as digestate, which is rich in nutrients including nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous (NKP). Digestate is potentially a useful fertiliser but has various drawbacks including issues relating to run-off, unbalanced nutrient loads and limited windows for land application. In addition, as deployment of AD increases, the demand for agricultural land also increases, requiring digestate to be transported over longer distances, which is uneconomical due to the high water content of digestate. A major consequence of these issues is that digestate materials incur substantial disposal costs despite them having significant potential as fertilisers and soil conditioners.

Preliminary work has indicated that digestate can be gelled using alkali silicates and derivatives thereof. The resulting gel is silica-based and can subsequently be dried and compressed into tablet form, ready for land application. Leaching characteristics and nutrient loading can be managed to control nutrient release rates, alleviating land application issues. This also enables low-cost dewatering of digestate, significantly reducing energy transportation costs. It is the primary intention of this project therefore to develop the treatment of digestate using alkali silicates to yield a high-value, slow-release, water-retaining, balanced fertiliser and soil conditioner that can easily be transported and deployed on agricultural land. It is a key aim to take the process beyond the lab and demonstrate on a pilot scale in order to reach out to potential commercial partners. This is a novel method of digestate enhancement which has not been investigated elsewhere and is a potentially a very exciting research project in an important area of waste management.

 

Ysgoloriaeth ymchwil:

Bydd yr ysgoloriaeth ymchwil yn cynnwys ffioedd ar gyfer rhaglen PhD llawn-amser am flwyddyn ac yn talu cyflog o oddeutu £14k y flwyddyn. Mae hefyd tua £9k o gostau cymorth ar gael i’r prosiect ar gyfer treuliau, teithio, mân offer, hyfforddiant (gan gynnwys Ysgol Raddedig KESS) a mynychu cynadleddau.

Mae’r swydd ar gael o 1 Ionawr 2019 / 1 Ebrill 2019.

Studentship:

The studentship will cover the fees for a full-time PhD programme and pay a stipend of circa £14k p.a. There is also around £9k project support costs available for consumables, travel, minor equipment, training (including the KESS Grad School) and conference attendance.

The position is available from 1st January 2019 / 1st April 2019.

Cymhwyster Myfyrwyr:

I fod yn gymwys i gael ysgoloriaeth ymchwil KESS, mae’n rhaid:

·         cael cyfeiriad cartref yn yr ardal Dwyrain Cymru (manylion isod)* ar adeg cofrestru.

·         bod gennych hawl i ymgymryd â gwaith cyflogedig yn yr ardal Dwyrain Cymru* ar ôl cwblhau’r ysgoloriaeth.

·         bod y Brifysgol yn eich ystyried yn fyfyriwr ‘cartref’ neu ‘UE’ at ddibenion ffioedd dysgu yn unol â chanllawiau’r Brifysgol.

·         eich bod yn bodloni meini prawf mynediad Prifysgol De Cymru: gweler isod, cymwysterau a phrofiad a’r broses ymgeisio

*Dwyrain Cymru ardal yn cwmpasu:  Bro Morgannwg / Caerdydd / Casnewydd/ Sir Fynwy/ Powys/ Wrecsam/ Sir Y Fflint

 

Eligibility of Student:

To be eligible to hold a KESS studentship, you must:

·         have a home address in East Wales area (details below)* at the time of registration.

·         have the right to take up paid work in the East Wales area* on completion of the scholarship.

·         be classified by the University as ‘home’ or ‘EU’ for tuition fees purposes according to the University’s guidelines.

·         satisfy University of South Wales’s admissions criteria: see below, qualifications and experience and application process

*East Wales area covers:  Vale of Glamorgan / Cardiff/ Newport/ Monmouthshire/ Powys/ Wrexham/ Flintshire

 

Cymwysterau a phrofiad:

Bydd gan ymgeiswyr cymwys:

Qualifications and experience:

Eligible applicants will:

  • Have a degree (2i or higher) in an appropriate chemical science discipline
  • Possess a reasonable understanding of chemical analysis techniques and reactor systems
  • Be highly self-motivated, with capacity to learn and develop practical and analytical techniques
  • Have well-developed and positively collaborative interpersonal skills and be interested in agriculture
  • Have an ability to deliver technical reports and communicate findings
  • Be willing to travel and work in industrial/agricultural settings
Y Broses Ymgeisio:

I lawrlwytho’r pecyn ymgeisio, ewch i:  Pecyn Ymgeisio Cyfranogwr

Am unrhyw ymholiadau ynghylch cymhwysedd, cysylltwch â:  Tîm KESS, Gwasanaethau Ymchwil ac Arloesedd, Prifysgol De Cymru: kess@decymru.ac.uk Ffôn: 01443 482578

Ar gyfer ymholiadau anffurfiol neu ragor o wybodaeth am y rhaglen, cysylltwch â: Dr Christian Laycock (christian.laycock@southwales.ac.uk).

Rhagor o wybodaeth:

http://staff.southwales.ac.uk/users/4168-claycock

Application Process:

To download an application package, please visit:  Participant Application Package

For any queries on eligibility, please contact:  KESS Team at Research and Innovation Services, University of South Wales: kess@southwales.ac.uk  Tel: 01443 482578

For informal enquiries or further programme information, please contact: Dr Christian Laycock (christian.laycock@southwales.ac.uk).

Further information at:

http://staff.southwales.ac.uk/users/4168-claycock

Dyddiad cau ar gyfer ceisiadau: Hanner nos Dydd Sul 25 Tachwedd 2018

Cynhelir cyfweliadau yn ystod yr wythnos yn dechrau (i’w gadarnhau)

Closing date for applications: midnight Sunday 25th November 2018

Interviews will be held w/c (TBC)

Mae Ysgoloriaethau Sgiliau Economi Gwybodaeth (KESS) yn fenter sgiliau lefel uwch ar draws Cymru a arweinir gan Brifysgol Bangor ar ran y sector AU yng Nghymru. Fe’i cyllidir yn rhannol gan raglen Cronfa Gymdeithasol Ewropeaidd (ESF) Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer Dwyrain Cymru. Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS) is a pan-Wales higher-level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) programme for East Wales.

Please note: This scholarship is advertised subject to funding confirmation