Postgraduate research opportunities

Advancing Next-Generation Waste-to-Energy Technologies

This project aims to develop next-generation waste valorisation and waste-to-energy approaches for organic waste treatment using a lab-scale experimental approach and mathematical models.

Number of places



3 March 2021


3 years


Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering or science discipline and be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research. Knowledge and research experiences in the following areas are preferred: energy engineering, thermal engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering.

Project Details

Organic wastes are valuable for energy, nutrients and fuels; however, in many parts of the world, these materials remain an “untapped resource” ―treated as waste. In a world of energy and water scarcity, where urban infrastructures are under growing pressure, and nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus in excessive flows are causing adverse environmental effects; there is the need for more efficient processes and conversion of organic wastes to value-added products (e.g. biohydrogen, biomethane). The focus of bioenergy research has long been to convert organic wastes to energy carriers, fuels, nutrients and chemicals; however, progress has been limited in technology development with large volumes of liquor resulting which remains an urban challenge, particularly for non-food waste sources. In this context, accelerated technological innovation is needed for the efficient conversion of organic waste to energy.

Using a lab-scale experimental approach, this project will explore the biochemical and thermo-mechanical processes of the gastrointestinal tract of herbivorous animals and wood-feeding insects to develop next-generation waste valorisation and waste-to energy approaches. The originality of the work lies in an integrated approach to waste treatment and optimisation of operational conditions for sludge digestibility, solubilisation, dewaterability and stabilisation.

The project will further examine the mechanisms underlying organic waste treatment and account for efficiency improvement using mathematical models. Project outcomes are expected to inform the design and development of advanced waste-to-energy technologies for organic wastes, providing opportunities for reduced energy costs and resource recovery.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:

Funding Details

This PhD project is initially offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with their own funding, or those applying to funding sources. However, excellent candidates may be considered for a University scholarship.

Contact us

James Weir Building, 75 Montrose Street, Glasgow, G1 1XJ

How to apply

Apply for this project here – please quote the project title in your application.

During the application you'll be asked for the following information and evidence uploaded to the application:

  • your full contact details
  • transcripts and certificates of all degrees
  • proof of English language proficiency if you are not from a majority English-speaking country as recognised by UKVI
  • two references, one of which must be academic. Please see our guidance on referees
  • funding or scholarship information
  • international students must declare any previous UK study

By filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the University.

Useful resources

Your application and offer

Application System Guide

Fees and funding