EngD Project - Regional generation of fresh water for sustainable desert communities

Course Location London
Cost £0
Type of course in situ
Course provider University College London
Available dates for this course

Please contact University College London directly for a current list of course dates

EngD Project - Regional generation of fresh water for sustainable desert communities

EngD Urban Sustainability & Resilience

Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering

4 year tax-free stipend at £17,750pa

In collaboration with Seawater Greenhouse Ltd, the Department of Civil, Environmental &Geomatic Engineering has funding from the EPSRC for an EngD studentship (4 year program) for the following project:

Regional generation of fresh water for sustainable desert communities

Never before has there been such urgent need to generate sustainable habitats, where water, energy and food are created without negatively affecting the global balance of the Earth. However, present methods of supplying water in arid regions, including overabstraction from groundwater reserves, diverting water from other regions and energyintensive desalination, are all unsustainable in the long-term.

Converting seawater to fresh water in the right quantities and in the right places offers the potential to solve many of the world’s problems. A very efficient process is used by the Seawater Greenhouse in Oman, designed by Seawater Greenhouse Ltd. The seawater is used for cooling the greenhouse and for maintaining high levels of humidity. Sufficient fresh water is condensed from the humid air to irrigate the crops. As the only waste product of the process is biomass and humid air, the scheme enhances the restorative effect of reversing desertification and returning areas of desert to green land.


This Seawater Greenhouse was developed following experience gained on similar successful projects in Tenerife and the United Arab Emirates. The company have now been selected as a finalist by the World Bank Development Marketplace for a grant to build a Seawater Greenhouse in Gujarat, India, later this year.

This scheme has huge potential in various regions around the world, such as North Africa, the Middle East, India, parts of N+S America, and Australia.


The student will be involved in several aspects of development of the seawater greenhouse system, building on existing methodologies used by the company in its current designs:

o Climate modelling using Matlab and Simulink inside and outside the greenhouse to optimise performance in different regions / climates.

o Developing a method for further processing of the brine to recover salt, desiccants (MgCl) and minerals for soil conditioners.

o Development of implementation plans for different regions.

o Adapting the process for human comfort cooling and integration with buildings, with the additional use of desiccants, derived from seawater.


The goal is to develop a complete solution to generate energy, fresh water, and food, which would allow communities to flourish in the most harsh, arid deserts on Earth.


Applicants must have at least a 2.1 degree in an Engineering, Physics or Maths discipline or an MSc or MA in a related subject. Applicants should be curious, highly motivated, and able to work both independently and in a team.

For a place on the EngD programme funded through EPSRC awards, applicants must meet the EPSRC eligibility requirements. EngD Funding is available for applicants who have been working residents in the UK for at least three years prior to the proposed commencement of the programme.

Visit this website for more information: http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/PostgraduateTraining/StudentEligibility.htm


Please email a short statement by 31 August 2008 indicating how you meet the entrance requirements to the academic supervisor leading this project: Dr Liora Malki-Epshtein (l.malki-epshtein(at)ucl.ac.uk), If you are successful, you will be invited to apply in full and come for an interview as early as possible.


The closing date for this doctorate is 31 August 2008. Successful candidates will be invited for interview, which will take place in September.

Contact: Dr Liora Malki-Epshtein

Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering Chadwick Building Gower St
United Kingdom
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Telephone: 0207 679 7831