Let's talk about water

Whetting appetites for Bath's water research

Topic: Other

German Water Chemistry Society Meeting

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The following blog post was contributed by Jannis Wenk, Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering.


The 83rd meeting of the German Water Chemistry Society, with a record attendance of more than 300 participants, was held from 22 – 24 May 2017. This year the meeting took place in Donaueschingen, a town in the Black Forest, where the Danube River begins its 2860 km long south eastern journey towards the Black Sea passing through ten countries.

The annual conference provides a platform for the Central European water chemistry research community and is traditionally well attended by delegates from authorities and water utilities from Germany and neighbouring countries. The conference programme consisted of 26 presentations and 90 posters from the areas of water and waste water treatment, groundwater, drinking water, microbiology and water analysis. Dr Jannis Wenk, Lecturer in Water Science and Engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering, represented WIRC with a poster that was based on his engagement in the German Water Chemistry Society task group on oxidative water treatment processes.

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10th IWA Biofilm Reactor Conference

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The following blog post was contributed by Benedek Plosz, Reader in the Department of Chemical Engineering.


Benedek Plosz has just attended the 10th IWA International Conference on Biofilm Reactors 2017 in Dublin, Ireland.

Biofilm processes are key to an increasing number of biochemical usedwater treatment processes. The main objective of this venue, focusing on Biofilm Reactors, is to bring together both practitioners and researchers to exchange new knowledge and to relate more closely practical implementation with basic research. The program was very strong and the organising committees and UCD (University College Dublin) did a great job to ensure the conference met excellent standards. The conference themes comprised Aerobic granular reactor systems, Bio-electrochemical systems, Moving bed biofilm reactors, Membrane aerated biofilm reactors, Nutrient removal, Modeling and control, Microsensing.

Our PhD students held two oral presentations (Torresi et al; Ramin et al.) focusing on modelling the fate of trace organic xenobiotic pollutants and biomarkers in nitrifying as well as aerobic and anaerobic biofilm systems. The studies focused on enhanced biochemical micropollutant removal and on the emerging field of wastewater-based epidemiological engineering.

 

Linking chemical-soil interactions to pollutant fate and transport from soil to water

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📥  Other, Water Resources

This May 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: Linking chemical-soil interactions to pollutant fate and transport from soil to water

Speaker: Dr Brian J. Reid, Reader, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

When: Thursday 18th May 2017 at 1.15pm

Where: Room 2.1, 6 East, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: The seminar will begin by introducing the fundamentals of how chemical and physical phenomena underpin soil-pollutants interactions. From this perspective the implications of these interactions for pollutant bioavailability and transport will be developed. I will introduce seminal research relating to the application of cyclodextrins as bioavailability mimetics (and standardisation with the ISO). I will provide insights into the interplay between pollutant exposure, pollutant bioavailability and microbial adaptation. These dynamics govern the opportunities for pollutants to move through the environment and to be degraded. To conclude this half of the seminar, I will outline ongoing research with: a European agrochemical company and a UK water company, with whom, we are developing innovations to mitigate pesticide release into the environment and to evaluate pesticide attenuation-competence across water catchments. The second half of the seminar will consider the opportunities to use carbonaceous materials to alter the bioavailability and fate of chemicals. Here I will introduce experiments that highlight the influence of biochar on: soil properties and soil hydrology, and; the efflux of soil colloids, dissolved organic matter and agrochemicals. I will highlight recent successes in the application of biochars to mitigate pollutant phyto-accumulation and markedly reduce the cancer risks in China’s Cancer Villages.

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Predicting future change in water flows and quality in urbanising catchments

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We are very happy to be able to invite Dr Michael Hutchins from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) to host the first Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering (ACE) Seminar and WIRC Colloquium on Thursday 17th November 2016. Mike will discuss "Predicting future change in water flows and quality in urbanising catchments".

Mike is a Senior Water Quality Modeller at Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (Wallingford). His research has focused mainly on two areas, diffuse pollution and in-river processes, and understanding their effects in large river basins. He studies phytoplankton and dissolved oxygen dynamics using river quality models. The majority of his research is focused towards providing support to policies implementing legislation under the Water Framework Directive. More recently he has been leading a NERC Changing Water Cycle project “Changes in urbanisation and its effects on water quantity and quality from local to regional scale” (POLL-CURB).

Despite substantial improvements in the recent past brought about by investment in treatment of sewage and industrial wastes, and various incentives and regulations to reduce diffuse pollution, water resources in the UK are facing considerable future pressures. For example, previous modelling work in the River Thames suggests incidence of “undesirable” water quality will become more frequent in the future. Furthermore, these predictions were made without considering the impact of population growth. Here, we present a combination of approaches to evaluate impacts of urbanisation on water resources in the 9948 km2 Thames basin. Empirical analysis of two years of monitoring data in intensely monitored sub-catchments reveal the degree to which spatial variability of hydrological and water quality response can be explained by indices of impervious area. Statistical detection and attribution techniques are used to assess long-term river data, and these highlight strong signals of urban growth after climate variability is accounted for. High-resolution continuous monitoring puts the extreme periods of storm conditions in winter 2013-14 in the context of annual cycles of water quality. We illustrate how the high-resolution monitoring programme is used to simulate river hydrochemistry, and in particular to indicate how far downstream of urban areas the influence of those areas persist. At the basin scale, analysis of satellite imagery reveals landuse changes since the mid-1980s, signals used to train cellular automata models which then are employed for predictive purposes under different scenarios of urban development. We show how parametrically-parsimonious models of hydrology, sediment delivery and water quality are driven by the future landuse data to refine the existing predictions of future change in water resources across the whole Thames basin.

For more information, please contact Dr Danielle Wain.

 

The Value of Global Sensitivity Analysis for Diagnostic Evaluation and Uncertainty Quantification in Environmental Modelling

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Come and join us for the next WIRC Colloquium on 15th September 2016 by Professor Thorsten Wagener, University of Bristol.

Thorsten Wagener

When
Thursday 15 September 2016 at 1.15pm

Where
Room 8 West 2.5, University of Bath

Abstract
Computer models are a cornerstone of scientific exploration and practical decision-making in engineering, environmental science, ecology and earth systems modelling. Our group develops tools, theory and guidance for the use of Global Sensitivity Analysis (GSA) to analyse such computer models. I will present examples of how GSA can be used for (1) the diagnostic evaluation of hydrological models – how can we improve our model structures? (2) For understanding future landslide risk – how can we provide useful guidance for decision makers in the presence of unknown uncertainties? And (3) for quantifying the space-time varying uncertainty in flood inundation modelling – how can we understand the complex interactions of different sources of uncertainty? These examples highlight the variety of uses for GSA in the context of building and using models across a wide range of application areas.

The examples shown have been implemented using the SAFE Toolbox that integrates key GSA methods in a single environment. Free Matlab and R versions of the SAFE Toolbox for Global Sensitivity Analysis are available.

Co-authors: Francesca Pianosi, Fanny Sarrazin, Susana Almeida, Liz Holcombe

 

AI-Based Detection and Location of Events in Smart Water Networks

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Professor Zolan Kapelan from the University of Exeter will deliver a presentation on "AI-Based Detection and Location of Events in Smart Water Networks" at the next WIRC Colloquium.

Water leakage is a major issue in water supply and distribution systems in the UK and worldwide. In the UK alone, approximately 20% of the water that enters distribution systems is lost. This talk focuses on the presentation of a specific new technology that enables detection and location of pipe burst/leaks and other events (such as equipment failures) by analysing pressure and flow sensor data coming from the pipe network. The new technology makes use of several Artificial Intelligence based data analytics which are able to extract useful information from large quantities of observed data, raise suitable alarms and locate events in near real-time. Elements of this technology were built recently into the Event Recognition System, a commercial system that is now used companywide in one of the largest UK water utilities. The talk will conclude with a brief overview of other smart water technologies currently developed by the speaker.

More information can be found on WIRC events page.

 

WIRC @ Bath attends 17th edition of IWA-UK Young Water Professionals Conference

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📥  Other, WIRC @ Bath

A delegation from Bath attended the 17th edition of the UK Young Water Professionals Conference in Norwich – organised jointly by the International Water Association (IWA), Anglian Water and the University of East Anglia. The conference, held from the 30th of March to the 1st of April 2016, included a varied programme around the topics of People, Planet and Profit and gathered more than 100 delegates from a diverse background of water industries and universities. The core of the conference was to provide young water professionals with an opportunity to develop their career by building their network and by understanding the opportunities within the water sector. Among the many well organised sessions, there was the opportunity to benefit from professional development advice from senior professionals, interesting keynote presentations on the three main topics as well as extremely engaging presentations from many postgraduate students and young professionals either in the panel sessions and the highly interactive poster sessions.

One of the panel sessions

One of the panel sessions

Chrysoula Papacharalampou was invited to present her work in the panel session on “Planet” on the topic of an integrated asset management methodology that she has been developing together with Wessex Water. Jon Chouler, Ellaine Gallagher and Fernanda Souza presented their work on “Microbial Fuel Cells”, “Behavioural studies for water use patterns” and “Treatment of a hospital wastewater by advanced oxidation processes” respectively at the poster sessions.

The conference came to an end but not before a terrific dinner, organised at the Saint Andrews Halls for Water Aid and where Jon Chouler took home the prize for best poster presentation!

Group photo before the dinner, (from left to right) Jon Chouler, Chrysoula Papacharalampou, Ana Lanham, Elaine Gallagher, Yen Chua, Fernanda Souza.

Group photo before the dinner, (from left to right) Jon Chouler, Chrysoula Papacharalampou, Ana Lanham, Elaine Gallagher, Yen Chua, Fernanda Souza.

Here’s what our delegates from Bath had to say about the conference:

Jon Chouler - PhD researcher, Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technology, Dept. of Chemical Engineering

“The conference was a great opportunity to actively engage with water professionals of various backgrounds about my research. The fact that the conference was for young professionals not only made interaction easier, it also added a great energy to the two days. I was able to discuss my research in great detail to many interested people, which no doubt will help me sculpt my research in the future- especially towards industrial application.”

Fernanda Souza - PhD researcher, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Porto Alegre/RS, Brazil) & visiting researcher, Dept. of Chemical Engineering

“The conference was a good networking opportunity from both academia and industry and generated a lot of ideas to expand skills and professional qualifications.”

Chrysoula Papacharalampou - PhD Researcher, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering

“Participating at the 17th IWA YWP conference was a great opportunity not only to meet and mingle with other young water professionals, but also to present the outcomes of our ongoing research project and discuss with peers its relevance with the current challenges faced by the UK water sector. During the event, the presence of industry and professional organisations, like the Institute of Water or the Institute of Asset Management, allowed for networking and for exploration of job opportunities beyond academia.”

Visiting tour to water treatment plant of Anglian Water

Visiting tour to water treatment plant of Anglian Water

Ana Lanham - Lecturer, Water Innovation and Research Centre (WIRC), Dept. of Chemical Engineering

“This was an opportunity to have a broad understanding of the diversity within the UK water sector and to meet new interesting people across the board. It was also a fantastic opportunity to become more connected with the IWA activities in the UK, having in mind that with the establishment of WIRC as a dynamic research centre it is important to connect our growing community of staff and postgraduate students with the international community of water professionals.

Elaine Gallagher – PhD Researcher, Dept. of Psychology

“Having been uncertain as to how useful the conference would be for someone with a psychology background I was really pleasantly surprised that it was incredibly relevant with a great mix of people from a variety of backgrounds. It was a great opportunity to both network and discuss my research in a very welcoming environment with other young researchers. It was also very useful in terms of awareness of future opportunities in the sector.”

Yen Chua – Postdoctoral Research Associate, Centre for Advanced Separations Engineering (CASE), Dept. of Chemical Engineering

“Meeting with people from industries and other areas in water research helps in generating lots of ideas. As a member of CASE, it was a great platform to understand the current limitation in materials technologies for water treatment and separation, as well as creating network with water industries and young researchers for future collaborations.”

 

The Photochemistry of Rivers, Lakes and Engineered Low-Energy Treatment Systems

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📥  Other, Water Treatment, WIRC @ Bath

This April 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.

Title: The Photochemistry of Rivers, Lakes and Engineered Low-Energy Treatment Systems

Speaker: Dr Jannis Wenk

jannis-wenk

When: Tuesday 12th April 2016 at 5.15pm

Where: Room 3.15, Chancellors' Building, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: The importance of photochemical processes on the fate of aquatic contaminants is widely underestimated. This lecture summarizes highlights of my own studies and discusses them in relation to recent important advancements in the field of environmental photochemistry, with emphasis on reaction mechanisms, monitoring and modelling of photochemical processes in water bodies. Systematic use of natural sunlight for improving water quality in constructed open water systems such as wetlands and stormwater reservoirs will be considered. The presentation is especially addressed to an audience that is unfamiliar with this area of research as I will provide an introduction to the photophysical and photochemical processes that generate a wide range of short-lived reactive species in the upper layer of sunlit surface waters. Along the way I will also explain what the colour of water is.

Contact: Please email Shan Bradley-Cong if you need any further information.

 

A water trip to Amsterdam

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The following blog post was contributed by Chrysoula Papacharalampou, a PhD Research Student in Mechanical Engineering.


It was only a few days ago that I returned back from Amsterdam, where I spent two of the most exciting weeks of my academic life. During my stay, I had the opportunity to be part of a big, colourful ‘water party’: the WetSkills Challenge (24 Oct – 6 Nov) and the Amsterdam International Water Week (2-6 Nov).

The WetSkills* Challenge is a pressure-cooker programme for passionate young water professionals, coming from different scientific and cultural backgrounds. It provides a floor to integrate generations, water challenges, disciplines and cultures.

Their main challenge involves the development of a team to come up with an innovative and out-of-the box solution for a given case study. The case studies describe a water-related problem, based on the regional challenges of the country where the WetSkills is held. The outcomes of the team work are presented to a formal water-related event. In our case, it was a true water festival: the Amsterdam International Water Week.

wetskills

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Water sensor work shorlisted for two Global IChem Awards

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Awards MAIN logo_EventP+Sponsor

Dr Mirella Di Lorenzo in the Department of Chemical Engineering has been shortlisted for two IChemE Global Awards for her work on water sensors. Her entry '3D printed microbial water sensor' has been shortlisted for both the Water Management and Supply Award and the Dhirubhai Ambani Award for Outstanding Chemical Engineering Innovation for Resource-Poor People. The IChemE Global Awards celebrate excellence, innovation and achievement in the chemical, process and biochemical industries. The awards will be presented at the IChemE Global Awards Dinner at The Birmingham Hilton Metropole on Thursday 5th November 2015.

The other entries that have been shortlisted in the same categories are:

Water Management and Supply Award

  • ‘Marine ballast water treatment system’, Coldharbour Marine, UK
  • ‘Googong water recycling plant’, MWH Global; Googong Township Proprietary Ltd; Mirvac; Canberra Investment Corporation, Australia
  • ‘Separating oil from water’, Ohio State University, USA
  • ‘Membrane for heavy metal treatment’, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • ‘Low temperature ZLD evaporator crystallizer’, Saltworks Technologies Inc, Canada
  • ‘Watergy program’, Saudi Arabian Oil Company, Saudi Arabia
  • ‘Shrink-fit sewage treatment in Heritage Dock’, United Utlities; GCA, UK
  • ‘Xeros polymer bead cleaning system’, Xeros Technology Group plc, UK

The Dhirubhai Ambani Award for Outstanding Chemical Engineering Innovation for the Resource-Poor People sponsored by Reliance Industries

  • ‘Conversion of biomass into cellulose ethanol (cooking fuel)’, Green Energy Biofuels (GEB), Nigeria
  • ‘Low cost technology for dialysis membranes’, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India
  • ‘Production of biodiesel from waste cooking oil’, London South Bank University, UK
  • ‘Low-cost sustainable water filter’, Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Tanzania
  • ‘Multifunctional concentrated solar adsorption for food preservation’, Newcastle University, UK

More information can be found via the official news release in the IChemE Media Centre.