Resource-efficient technologies to remove emerging contaminants from water and wastewater

The water sector is the 5th largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the UK. To achieve Net Zero and mitigate climate change, water companies must reduce energy consumption by 2030 and decrease embedded GHG emissions of the treatment processes by 20501. To meet this target, novel environmentally friendly and effective approaches to water treatment technologies should be explored. Emerging pollutants, such as microplastics and pharmaceuticals, are found in water at concentrations sufficient to cause adverse effects on ecosystems, microorganisms and organisms including humans2-4. These pollutants typically escape intact from existing conventional treatment plants thus released into drinking water or the environment. Physical and chemical solutions, such as solar photocatalysis and biochar adsorbents, could be environmentally friendly materials to remove emerging pollutants from water. The proposed project will discover the applicability of novel approaches for water and wastewater treatment by accomplishing the following objectives:


  • Assess the removal rates of emerging pollutants from water,
  • Optimise the process by studying the effect of operating parameters on removal rates, and
  • Identify technical challenges and quantify the environmental sustainability of the technology for large-scale applications.



  1. Water UK Net Zero 2030 Routemap. Available online at
  2. T. Easton, V. Koutsos, E. Chatzisymeon (2023) Removal of polyester fibre microplastics from wastewater using a UV/H2O2 oxidation process. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering 11(1) 109057.
  3. Tursi, M. Baratta, T. Easton, E. Chatzisymeon, F. Chidichimo, M. De Biase, G. De Filipo, (2022), Microplastics in aquatic systems, a comprehensive review: origination, accumulation, impact, and removal technologies. RSC Advances Article accepted
  4. K. Davididou, R. Nelson, J.M. Monteagudo, A. Durán, A. J. Expósito, E. Chatzisymeon, (2018) Photocatalytic degradation of bisphenol-A under UV-LED, blacklight and solar irradiation, Journal of Cleaner Production. 203, 13 – 21.

Further Information:

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Closing Date: 

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 



Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Applications are welcomed from self-funded students, or students who are applying for scholarships from the University of Edinburgh or elsewhere.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: