Metal recovery and CO2 sequestration with steel production waste materials (PhD Scholarship)

Metal recovery and CO2 sequestration with steel production waste materials

Aberystwyth University, DGES

Project ID: AU30017
Annual Stipend: £14,340
Application Deadline: 25th February 2018

Applications are sought for a 36 month funded Knowledge Economy Skills PhD Scholarship (KESS 2) working on an excting project investigating metal recovery and CO2 sequestration with steel production waste materials. Steel production in Wales, based at the TATA steel works Port Talbot, is of major economic importance to Wales employing over 5000 staff and an economic turnover of over £2bn. While the economic impact is clear, the carbon intensive nature of steel production makes TATA Steel Wales’ largest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitter, producing 7 million tonnes / year.  Steel making also results in the production of ‘slag’ which is solid waste material from the blast furnace. The slag occurs as a molten liquid melt that solidifies on cooling and is a complex solution of silicates and oxides that contains high concentrations of metals, including iron (Fe), Calcium (Ca) and Zinc (Zn). The recovery of Fe would be advantageous for recycling into the steel production process, and Zn is a valuable metal ($2700/tonne) with slag containing Zn at concentrations that would be considered ore grade material under economic geology classification.

We propose to utilise TATA BOS waste and CO2 from the steel making process to i) recover metals as a resource from waste, and ii) sequester CO2 via the precipitation of metal-carbonate minerals. The student will be involved in developing these strategies at Aberystwyth University’s Extreme Experimental Environments (Ex2El lab) lab using custom reactors for monitoring geochemical transformation under high pressure gas conditions. This will also include use inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), electron microscopy (SEM and TEM) and x-ray diffraction techniques (XRD) to determine changes in the solid and solution phase. You will become part of a larger project involving the British Geological Survey and Cardiff University investigating carbon sequestration methods

The successful applicant should have a minimum of a 1st or good 2:1 degree (or international equivalent) and preferably Master’s degree in Earth Science/Geoscience or Chemical/Environmental Engineering or equivalent and be available to take up the studentship by April 2018. KESS 2 is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys and are collaborative awards with external partners.  The successful candidate will need to be resident in the convergence area on registration, and must have the right to work in the region on qualification.

To apply, please submit the following to the Postgraduate Admissions Office (address below) by 25th February 2018.

  1. A completed Research Programme Application Form, two references. Application and reference forms may be downloaded from
  2. A completed KESS II Participant proposal form (put the reference number AU30017 in the top right hand box of the application form) and an up-to-date CV. KESS II application forms are available to download at the link below.

  1. A PhD proposal of up to 1,000 words where you expand on your experience and interests and describe why you are a good candidate for this research studentship. Please refer to the Project Description.


Value of Award: A stipend of £14,340 (rising in accordance with inflation for the remaining two years). Each scholarship has an additional budget for travel, equipment/consumables and training to support your research. KESS II PhD Scholarship holders do not pay fees.

Length: Full-time for 3 years. (Theses must be submitted 6 months after the funded three year study period.)

Training: The achievement of a Postgraduate Skills Development Award (PSDA) is compulsory for each KESS II scholar (The PSDA is based on a 60 credit award, which is an additional award to the PhD).

Eligibility: To be eligible to apply for a KESS II award, you must be an EU/UK citizen, and live in the Convergence Area of Wales when you take up the fellowship.

The Convergence Area means the following counties of Wales:

Isle of Anglesey
Neath Port Talbot
Rhondda Cynon Taff

For further student eligibility criteria related to the individual projects, please view the details of the individual project above.

Informal enquiries should be made to Dr Andrew Mitchell at  or 01970 622640

Address for applications:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Recruitment & Admissions
Student Welcome Centre
Aberystwyth University
SY23 3FB

Quote Reference AU30017

Closing date for applications 25th February 2018