PhD Studentship: Assessing Impact of Plasma Technology on Gaseous Nitrogen Species and its Potential to Influence Digestate Quality as Fertilisers in Agriculture

Updated: about 2 months ago
Location: Cranfield, ENGLAND
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 01 Jul 2022

Start date: 26/09/2022

Eligibility: UK

Duration: 3 years

Supervisors - 1st : Dr Ruben Sakrabani  2nd : Dr Kumar Patchigolla


Sponsored by EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership, this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £18,000 (tax free) plus fees* for three years

The project offers a unique opportunity for a student to work closely with Cranfield University and N2 Applied in a project that involves using plasma technology to treat air and convert it into reactive N species to create an acidic environment which minimises losses of ammonia. In addition to the stipulated funding there is also funding to cover laboratory analysis, field work and participation in workshops and conferences. 

Ammonia (NH3 ) losses from use of animal slurry and digestate in agriculture is a cause of environmental concern and a loss of valuable resource. If the NH3 loss can be minimised, it can tackle these challenges and the nitrogen from NH3 can be utilised as a valuable source of renewable fertiliser for crops. With escalating price of natural gas, which is directly influencing fertiliser prices, alternative solutions are urgently needed. This project is timely to tackle this challenge as it entails using plasma technology to treat air and convert it into reactive N species such as nitric oxide (NO) and create an acidic environment which minimises losses of NH3 .

This project aim will be on evaluating the detailed chemistry of plasma interactions with the animal slurry or digestate liquor and its impact on N species when applied to soils as a fertiliser. It will provide an opportunity to gather new insights using plasma technology to treat digestate and its potential impact on nitrogen dynamics when applied to soils. This will be important to increase valorisation of digestate as a valuable form of renewable fertiliser in agriculture.

There will be an opportunity to present your work in national and international conferences and submit to a suitable journal for peer-reviewed publication. You will be able to engage closely with an industry partner such as N2 Applied to learn about plasma technology at their site in the UK and Oslo, Norway. You will also gain trainings in current analytical chemistry facilities and be part of a vibrant research group in the UK.

You will work in an industry scale pilot plant in addition to laboratory-based studies at Cranfield University. There will be also be opportunities to attend trainings to learn to use specialist analytical chemistry equipments needed to measure nitrogen species.

Entry requirements

First or Second Class Upper UK Honours Degree or equivalent in subjects such as Chemistry, Physics, Soil Science, Environmental Science or Geography. Experience in analytical chemistry, physics and those with some experience of using it in the context of soil science will be an added advantage. It will be desirable for candidates to have an MSc in the above subjects.


*This is only open to UK national and those residence in this country who can claim similar entitlement.

How to apply

For further information: Dr Ruben Sakrabani
(0) 1234 750111 Ext: 2710

Please complete the online application form stating the reference number SWEE0187

View or Apply

Similar Positions