Let's talk about water

Whetting appetites for Bath's water research

Visit to the Technische Universität München

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📥  Urban water management, Waste water collection and treatment, WIRC @ Bath

On 13 February 2018, Jannis Wenk, Davide Mattia, John Chew and Jan Hofman visited the Urban Water Systems Engineering group of the TU Munich. Our hosts, Prof Jörg Drewes and Dr Uwe Hübner presented the work of chair and showed their impressive pilot plants and research facilities. The group of Prof Drewes is working on a wide range of topics in the field of water and wastewater engineering. One of their focal points is the research on the removal of organic micropollutants in Managed Aquifer Recharge systems. Their research in this field included small scale filter column tests, a large sand-filled pilot plant and full-scale experiment in Berlin near the Tegelsee. Another interesting project was the power-to-gas project in which carbon dioxide and hydrogen were converted to methane gas in trickling bed filters. The gas has a high purity and can be fed directly into the gas grid. The hydrogen was obtained by water electrolysis with electricity from renewable sources in times of low demand.

Besides these two topics, further research was amongst others on ozone systems, UV oxidation, Anaerobic Digestion, Analytical screening techniques, environmental behaviour of microplastics, the urban water-energy-food nexus.

The WIRC delegation gave an overview of WIRC and our research on new materials for water treatment, microbubbles, fluid dynamics gauging and heat recovery from sewers. In the discussions it became clear that there are very good opportunities for collaboration. Jannis Wenk is already involved the supervision of Sema Karakurt, one of the PhD students in Munich. We anticipate that the visit will be followed up by some more visits and possibly PhD student exchanges. Dr Uwe Hübner will visit Bath in the future for a combined Chemical Engineering Seminar and Water Colloquium. The exact date will be announced.


Water treatment and resource recovery modelling

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📥  Waste water collection and treatment

This February sees the next talk in the monthly 'Water Colloquium' series organised by WIRC @ Bath exploring the breadth of water research being undertaken at the University of Bath and beyond.

Title: Water treatment and resource recovery modelling

Speaker: Dr Benedek Plosz

When: Thursday 15 February 2018 at 1.15pm

Where: Room 3.6, Chancellors' Building, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Note: This event is free and open to all.



IChemE Water Special Interest Group 30th Anniversary Young Process Engineer Prize

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📥  Other

Olivia Bailey was recently named runner-up in the IChemE Water Special Interest Group 30th Anniversary Young Process Engineer Prize. This prize was created with the aim of engaging and drawing together the young minds of our community. It required the submission of a video presentation, as an individual or a team, on a project or research topic that addresses one or more of the following themes:

  • The use of digital technologies and analytics in the water sector
  • Managing the growing global water demand /water resilience in cities
  • Improved water supply/sanitation in developing countries
  • Resource recovery/circular economy

Olivia is a PhD researcher within the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Water Innovation & Research Centre (WIRC) at the University of Bath. Her research aims to develop a sustainable design for future sewer systems, focusing on opportunities for water conservation/wastewater concentration and the consequences for the sewerage system. In the video Olivia presents the main benefits and barriers to a low-flow, high concentration sewerage system including more effective resource recovery, heightened treatment efficiency and issues of sedimentation.

Jan Hofman said “Olivia has made a great video. She clearly explains the societal needs to reduce water consumption and how her research relates to the big challenges around water. It is a perfect example of the importance of water research for future generations”.

Olivia received a charitable donation in her name to a water/sanitation charity. View Olivia's video entry.


Colloquium by WISE CDT Students

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This event has now been CANCELLED.

This January sees the next talk in the monthly 'Water Colloquium' series organised by WIRC @ Bath exploring the breadth of water research being undertaken at the University of Bath and beyond.

When: Thursday 18 January 2018 at 1.15pm

Where: Room 3.19, Building 4 East, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Note: This event is free and open to all.



Research & Public Engagement about the Historical Flood Events of the City of Bath

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📥  Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience

The following post was contributed by Dr. Chrysoula Papacharalampou, a Research Associate in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering.

Research currently undertaken within the Research Unit for Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience (WEIR) sheds light on the utility of re-constructed flood flow data derived from historical evidence for enhancing contemporary flood risk assessment.

The focus of the interdisciplinary research project (funded by the Leverhulme Trust and involving historical architecture, hydraulic engineering and statistical modelling experts from Universities of Bath and Edinburgh) is the River Avon and its interactions with the historic City of Bath, over the last three centuries. The research aims to translate documentary evidence (e.g. historical newspaper articles, epigraphic evidence, and pictorial representations) into hydraulic models which represent past extreme conditions of the river. It also analyses the historic symbiotic links between the flooding events of the Avon River with the economic and cultural development of the City of Bath. The underpinning methodology contributes a structured approach for reconstructing historic flood events and integrating them into contemporary flood risk and policy analyses.


Carlos Lopez attends the SWIG Innovation Brokerage Event

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📥  CSCT, Sensors and data, WIRC @ Bath

In November, Industry and academia combined to present the latest advances in sensors for water during the SWIG (Sensors for Water Interest Group) Innovation Brokerage Workshop. The sensors ranged from cutting-edge technology to KISS designs, and lab-on-a-chip approaches, all designed to detect toxins or living organisms in water.

The event was hosted by WIRC @ Bath and took place on 22nd of November at the University of Bath. Guest speakers and audience members came from a variety of scientific backgrounds, with representatives from the University of Bath, University of the West of England, University of Warwick, WRc, Environment Agency, Ashridge Engineering, Isle Utilities, Thames Water, Chelsea Technology Group, Piezotag, NOC, Meniscus, and the KTN, amongst others.



Collaboration visit from University of Johannesburg to Bath

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📥  Sensors and data

The following post was submitted by Professor Frank Marken from the Department of Chemistry.

A postgraduate researcher, Luthando Tshwenya from the University of Johannesburg, visited Bath with support from the DST/Mintek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre, University of Johannesburg, Water Research commission and the National Research Foundation, South Africa to pursue research into water desalination treatment with “ionic diodes”. The project is based on a collaboration of Professor Omotayo Arotiba in Johannesburg and Professor Frank Marken at Bath. During the three month stay, Luthando was able to develop new types of diodes by hot-pressing together polymer films. The micro-devices were shown to rectify cation flow and they could in future be combined with an anion rectifier to give a novel water desalination system that is driven by AC electricity without any side reaction or requirements for pumps. Water research features prominently at Bath and at the University of Johannesburg where Luthando plans to further develop this technology in his PhD.

Luthando presented his work at the Electrochem 2017 conference in Birmingham and a joint publication has been submitted entitled “Cationic Diodes by Hot-Pressing of Fumasep FKS-30 Ionomer Film onto a Microhole in Polyethylene Terephthalate”. Coauthors in this work are based in 4 institutions including:

  • Department of Applied Chemistry, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Department of Chemistry, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK
  • Centre for Nanomaterials Science Research, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Bogor Agricultural University, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia
  • University of Groningen, Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Analysis, 9700 AD Groningen, The Netherlands


Freshwater research challenges sought for the FRESH CDT

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In September 2017, the NERC Centre for Doctoral Training in Freshwater Biosciences and Sustainability (FRESH CDT) was awarded (£2M) to the GW4 Water Security Alliance, together with its partners BGS and CEH. The FRESH CDT is now starting up, with the most important task to recruit students for the first cohort, coming in in October 2018.

The FRESH CDT will deliver 12 studentships will be available in the first round, including 3 for Bath. We will start advertising projects on 1 January 2018.

Our proposal considered the full process of co-designing and co-creating the PhDs with you our stakeholder community, via a series of engagement workshops. However, timing is against us for the Oct 2018 cohort intake as other institutions are already advertising potential projects. While PhD studentships will only commence in October 2018, we hope to start advertising potential projects by the end of year.

We are looking for projects in four themes:

  1. Quantify and manage emerging risks to freshwaters that stem from changing patterns in behaviours, demography, governance or climate
  2. Develop and test next generation tools for assessing and monitoring ecosystems and ecosystem services
  3. Tackle extinction and impairment in freshwater ecosystems
  4. Create integrated solutions to manage ecosystem service sustainability for people and ecosystems

We think this CDT and its research opportunities are of interest to many organisations and companies in the water field. We would be very much interested to engage with you on research in the abovementioned areas.

  • We would be grateful if you could please suggest one or several research challenge questions (maximum 5-10 lines) that you consider relevant to your organisation. All will be circulated to our community of more than 200 water researchers and we will facilitate them in getting back to you to start refining any potential research project.
  • Could you also please provide any potential co-supervisors from your organisation and/or the most appropriate contact for us to liaise with.

All projects will have to be submitted for approval to the FRESH CDT panel before the 1st January 2018.

For more information, contact Jan Hofman or the FRESH team in Cardiff.


Water Scarcity and multi-functionality of the water supply chain


📥  WIRC @ Bath

This December sees the next talk in the monthly 'Water Colloquium' series organised by WIRC @ Bath exploring the breadth of water research being undertaken at the University of Bath and beyond.

Title: Water Scarcity and multi-functionality of the water supply chain

Speaker: Professor Louise Bracken

When: Thursday 14th December 2017 at 1.15pm

Where: Room 3.6, Chancellors' Building, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Note: This event is free and open to all.



12th Water Technology Conference in Aachen

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📥  Other

On 24 and 25 October, the 12th biennial Conference on Drinking Water and Wastewater Technology was organised by the RWTH Aachen, Germany. WIRC was represented at the conference by Jannis Wenk who gave a presentation on his microbubble research. Jan Hofman is on the programme committee of this conference for many years. He chaired a session on redox processes and removal or organic micropollutants.