An industrial desalination technology currently faces major challenges in minimisation of the power consumption, system optimisation with minimum fouling, minimisation of the environmental impact, and development of zero liquid discharge systems. 100% carbon neutral system and first of its kind technology will shape the future transition to traditional desalination systems like reverse osmosis. Smart approach to harness solar power for water desalination which significantly lowering production costs and reducing brine discharge back to sea. To address these challenges this student project will explore an emerging solar dome technology funded by EU H2020 REWIAISE project in partnership with Cranfield Industrial PhD partnership scheme.

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Industrial thermal desalination is mostly preferred now a days in comparison to traditional reverse osmosis process, with a decreasing specific energy consumption. The emerging technologies such as membrane distillation, forward osmosis and electrodialysis, and are still in a development stage. This student project will explore another emerging solar dome technology via thermal desalination for pure water production, significantly lowering production costs, fully carbon neutral solution and reducing brine discharge.

Overall this student project will aim to design, build, test and learn (DBTL) the emerging solution with the production of 20 m3/day. In addition, this student project will explore the feasibility to operate at night by storing solar energy during the day. Throughout this PhD programme, the student will develop an enhanced understanding of engineering challenges associated for scale-up; this will inform the construction and operation of systems running in prolonged hours. This research will provide confidence in demonstrating thermal desalination and will directly impact industry, allowing to realise these units, to the benefit of a wide range of stakeholders.

An exciting research opportunity has arisen for a motivated graduate to join our Centre for Thermal Energy and Materials (CTEM). The Centre has a strong record in applied research in the academic and industrial sectors. Our research areas include renewable energy systems, thermal desalination, advanced heat recovery systems with efficient heat exchangers, heating and cooling and next generation technologies by reduction in energy demand. CTEM staff has several years research experience in this particular field.

This project will involve collaboration with REWIASE Industrial partners relevant to desalination technologies. The student will work closely with these industrial collaborators. During this PhD programme, the successful student will be expected to present the research outcomes at progress meetings, disseminate the results at international conferences and publish peer-reviewed journal papers.

The student will be eligible to be part of the EU funded REWAISE project (, whose benefits include attendance at monthly meetings with relevant industrial partners including the progress meeting with whole consortium and funding opportunities for international collaborations and events.

This research studentship is technically challenging. The student will receive a significant level of modelling training including thermodynamic assessment and building a pilot scale facility. The Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme provides a comprehensive package of transferable skills training. The student would also benefit from entrepreneurship training, opportunities for public engagement and career development support. The student will also be able to benefit from an extended professional network including participation in academic and industrial networks to enhance employability and career development.

At a glance

  • Application deadline31 Aug 2021
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Start date04 Oct 2021
  • Duration of award3 years
  • EligibilityUK, EU
  • Reference numberSWEE0152

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or upper second class UK Honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline, such as Chemical/Process Engineering or Renewable/Industrial Engineering. The ideal candidate should have some understanding water desalination thermodynamics. The candidate should be self-motivated, have good communication skills for regular interaction with academic community and other stakeholders and have and strong interest for industrial research.


Sponsored by EU H2020 REWAISE project in partnership with Cranfield Industrial PhD partnership scheme (CIPPS), this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £18,000 (tax free) plus fees* for three years. *UK/EU student fee rate

To be eligible for these funding, applicants must be a UK/EU national.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

For further information please contact:  
Name: Dr. Kumar Patchigolla

If you are eligible to apply for this PhD, please complete the online application form stating the reference number SWEE0152.

For further information contact us today:
T: +44 (0)1234 758082