Establishing the correlation between mixing speed and biogas production in anaerobic digestion

  • Overview:
    Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a widely used renewable energy technique to obtain biogas from biomass such as sewage sludge and other feedstock. Biogas production from AD is incredibly complex and is affected by factors such as mixing speed, impeller type, temperature and feedstock, to name a few. Mixing in AD reactors, or digesters, ensures that the microbes come into contact with the biomass and thus promote methane production through enhanced degradation mechanisms.
    Mixing speed affects the rate of biogas production, although some research has shown that higher speeds have inhibited methane production. Sindall et al (2013) demonstrated a correlation between mixing speed and methane production in a lab-scale sewage sludge experiment. However, above a certain mixing speed, the methane production appeared to rapidly decrease. The hypothesis for this decrease was that small-scale turbulence was destroying the microbes and thus inhibiting methane production. This project seeks to determine the influence of small-scale turbulence on biogas production in lab-scale ADs for a range of feedstock. Data will be obtained using a combination of lab-based experiments and computational fluid dynamics simulations.

    Person specification
    A valid English language qualification, such as International English Language Test System (Academic IELTS) or equivalent with an overall score of 6.5 with no band below 6.0, must be submitted with your application.
    Successful applicants will have graduated (or be due to graduate) with an undergraduate first class degree and/or MSc distinction in a relevant engineering subject. Applicants must also demonstrate knowledge of AD or CFD

    Sindall, R., Bridgeman, J. and Carliell-Marquet, C., 2013. Velocity gradient as a tool to characterise the link between mixing and biogas production in anaerobic waste digesters. Water Science and Technology, 67(12), pp.2800-2806
    Terashima, M., Goel, R., Komatsu, K., Yasui, H., Takahashi, H., Li, Y.Y. and Noike, T., 2009. CFD simulation of mixing in anaerobic digesters. Bioresource technology, 100(7), pp.2228-2233.

    How to apply
    The closing date for applications is 23.59 on Friday 28th June 2019.
    To apply, please complete the project proposal form and then complete the online application where you will be required to upload your proposal in place of a personal statement.
    You can find further details on studying for a PhD and details of how to apply here – https://www.bcu.ac.uk/courses/bsbe-research-degrees-phd-2019-20
    Reference: CEBE-BIOGAS

    The successful candidate will be supported by an interdisciplinary research team, consisting of Dr Dominic Flynn, Dr Roshni Paul and Prof Lynsey Melville. For further information please contact the Director of Studies, Dominic Flynn, (Dominic.Flynn@bcu.ac.uk).

    Funding notes
    The opportunity is open to Home, EU and International applicants who meet the required Birmingham City University eligibility criteria. The PhD studentship includes a full stipend, paid for a period of 3 years at RCUK rates (in 2019/20 this is £15,009 pa) and fees at Home/EU rate. This studentship is available for September 2019 start and no later than February 2020. International applicants are eligible to apply for this studentship but must meet the shortfall on fees between Home/EU and International rate.

  • Duration: 36 Months