The main aim of this PhD will be to help develop a new ultrasonic technology for harvesting algae in commercial biofuel production. If successful, it could have huge impacts on carbon emissions. The research will involve hands-on design and testing of fluidic and ultrasonic systems as well as computer modelling and working with biofuel producers.
Algal biofuels have the potential to revolutionise our energy needs and reduce or eliminate our reliance on oil. In contrast to other biofuels, algae can be grown with low demand on water resources, and some researchers envision vast floating farms covering parts of the oceans. Separating the algae once they have grown is currently achieved by centrifugation and this contributes to about 15% of the total cost. Ultrasonic technologies have the potential to dramatically reduce the amount of energy required.
While existing interest in fluidic systems, acoustic focusing and biofuels would be useful, we have existing expertise in these areas and are able to provide masters level training through specific courses to give you the skills you need.