Let's talk about water

Whetting appetites for Bath's water research

Topic: WIRC @ Bath

The effects of oxygen availability and turbulence on water quality in lakes and reservoirs

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📥  Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience, WIRC @ Bath

This March 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 effects of oxygen availability and turbulence on water quality in lakes and reservoirs

Speaker: Dr Lee Bryant

bryant-lee

When: 16 March2017 at 1.15pm

Where:  CB 4.8,University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: Oxygen and mixing conditions in aquatic systems have a significant influence on the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients, metals, and other species at the sediment-water interface; these fluxes often control water quality in lakes and reservoirs. In an effort to counter problems with decreased water quality stemming from anoxic conditions, engineered techniques such as hypolimnetic oxygenation systems are being used more and more prevalently to increase aquatic oxygen concentrations and reduce concentrations of deleterious soluble species. Decreased oxygen levels in oceans are also becoming increasingly problematic due to enhanced anthropogenic effects and global warming. In both freshwater and marine systems, fluxes of oxygen, nutrients, and other chemical species are known to be strongly controlled not only by concentration but also by turbulence such as internal waves; however, hydrodynamics can be highly variable and effects on biogeochemical cycling and corresponding water quality are not currently understood. Based on in-situ microprofiler and aquatic eddy correlation measurements, results will be presented from three process studies focusing on (1) the effects of internal waves (e.g., seiches), (2) bioturbation, and (3) engineered hypolimnetic oxygenation / aeration on sediment-water fluxes of oxygen and manganese in lakes and reservoirs. These studies will be used to highlight the physical and chemical processes controlling biogeochemical cycling and related water quality in aquatic systems.

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

 

Special WIRC PhD Colloquium

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📥  Water and Public Health, Water Management, Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience, WIRC @ Bath, WISE CDT

At this special WIRC colloquium, we are exicted to introduce Mr Qiang Chen and Miss Olivia Cooke, both PhD students at the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, University of Bath.

When
Thursday 16th February 2017 at 1.15pm

Where
Room 4.8, Chancellor's Building, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Development and application of a novel PIC method to Fluid-structure interactions

Qiang ChenQiang Chen

PhD Research Programme in Civil Engineering, University of Bath

Abstract
With increasing computing power, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling has been considerably developed in many research areas. This work is motivated by developing a hybrid method for numerical modelling of fluid-structure interaction in the coastal and offshore engineering environment. In particular, this is based on the Particle-In-Cell (PIC) method where both particles and grid are utilised. While the particles are used for tracking free surfaces and solving the nonlinear advection term of the Navier-Stokers equations in a Lagrangian manner, the underlying grid is employed for solving the rest non-advection parts in an Eulerian sense. The idea being that the method should have both the flexibility and efficiency from pure Lagrangian methods (based on particles) and Eulerian methods (based on grid), respectively, with a reasonable accuracy.

Biography
Qiang obtained his Master Degree at Dalian University of Technology, China. He is now a PhD student of Dr Jun Zang at the WEIR research unit.

 

Assessment and mitigation of storm runoff loads from an informal settlement (slum)

Olivia CookeOlivia Cooke

PhD Research Programme in Civil Engineering, University of Bath

Abstract
One of the biggest global health problems today is that posed by urban conditions, most significantly in informal settlements. Within informal settlements, the lack of infrastructure including sanitation and sewage facilities can generate serious problems for health and the environment. Stormwater runoff influences these issues and it is necessary to understand the processes and characteristics of runoff to mitigate health risks from it. The aim of this PhD is to develop a scientific theory which determines how stormwater runoff, quality and quantity, is influenced by human and environmental factors, focussing on the case study of the informal settlement Enkanini, located in South Africa.

Biography
Olivia is a PhD Student on the WISE CDT based at the University of Bath in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering. She is part of both the Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience (WEIR) research group and the Water Innovation and Research Centre (WIRC). Olivia studied Geography under an Open Scholarship at Aberystwyth University and gained a First Class (Honours) BSc. During her third year, Olivia studied for a term at UNIS in Svalbard in the Arctic. Her post-graduate study was a Master of Research in The Science of Natural Hazards at the University of Bristol. Fieldwork included studying the natural hazards in Guatemala, followed by research in Ecuador for her dissertation on volcano risk at Cotopaxi Volcano. Olivia is currently in her second year of her PhD.

Olivia's supervisors are Dr Lee Bryant, Dr Thomas Kjeldsen and Dr Wesaal Khan (Stellenbosch University)

 

Towards an integrated approach to water for cities

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📥  Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience, WIRC @ Bath

Hope you had a very nice break and all the best for the new year! WIRC would like to welcome Martin Shouler, Associate Director at Arup, to give us some insight information on integrated approach to water for cities.

 

martin-passport-style-photo-2

Martin Shouler, Associate Director, Arup

BSc (Hons) Physics with Applied Physics
MSc Environmental Design and Engineering
FCIPHE, FSoPHE

When
Thursday 19th January 2017 at 1.15pm

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

Abstract
In Martin’s colloquium, he will reflect on the development of modern water systems in and around buildings and how they fit in the wider urban context. He will make the argument we need to consider water in a more integrated manner and how we might look to nature for inspiration.

Water plays an essential part in the life of our cities. It is required to provide our basic needs for drinking water and sanitation, for industry and commerce and plays an important part in our health and well-being. Water is both an enabler for allowing cities to work and can also present a risk in the form of flooding and drought. We are facing problems caused by both too little and too much water. As well as climate change, this is being exacerbated by population growth and urbanization. In addition, for many cities, existing urban water infrastructure is often at or approaching its maximum capacity.

In the ancient world, large cities begun to develop aqueducts and river-based sewerage systems to support their development. Growing understanding of waterborne diseases and the introduction of the water flushed closet led to the provision of a centralised water supply and wastewater treatment models which have served us well for over 100 years. As many of these ageing systems are now reaching capacity, new models for water systems are presenting themselves. There is a growing understanding of the need to deliver smarter, better, cheaper, more resilient and environmentally sensitive water and wastewater systems.

The increasing demand placed on our water infrastructure has meant traditional centralized infrastructure may not be adequate to satisfy our urban needs in an economic manner. Decentralization of water infrastructure has grown extensively as a viable solution including non-potable water from sources such as greywater, rainwater and stormwater harvesting where policies are trending towards a more rational use with integrated systems.

In our congested cities, access to blue and green spaces, as well as contributing to the management and control of water, can provide multiple health benefits. These range from reduced exposure to pollution and high urban temperatures through to improved mental well-being and providing opportunities for recreational use and wildlife habitats. Integrating these spaces with transport routes provide safe and appealing cycling, walking and running routes to allow citizens to travel more simply.

Water for buildings

When considering water demand for cities, much of it is related to buildings. Adequate water supply and drainage systems are a necessity for the safeguarding of the health and hygiene of building users; if they fail there can be serious health and safety consequences.

The design of our water systems are rightly influenced by regulations, codes and standards. But regulations, codes and standards do not always keep pace with how water needs to be managed, the influence of changing demands and needs of citizens as well as climate change. We need up-to-date data and decision support tools.

The need for robust data to drive engineering

Much of the design data underpinning these codes was collated in the 1970s. However, water appliances and patterns of use have changed dramatically since then. New water appliances have appeared and others have become more efficient. If the codes are followed, it is likely that hot and cold water systems will be oversized (and therefore not as economical) which can also lead to other costs such as increased space take, increased energy and water use as well as lower throughput of water and the water quality issues that brings.

Resource efficient building designs often incorporate water re-use systems such as rainwater harvesting, greywater and blackwater reuse, alongside standard drinking water provision. Hot and cold water distribution systems need to be designed to operate safely and hygienically with a range of demands placed upon them. Hot water temperature needs to be regulated to control bacterial growth whilst avoiding potential scalding.

Once buildings and their water systems are considered holistically with the infrastructure that serve them, we are able to apply new thinking to find ways to enhance their overall resilience. Good modelling and robust data is required to provide evidence base to drive new solutions.

Looking forward: towards a circular economy for water

Nature provides us many clues as to how we should manage water in an integrated way. We are all familiar with the basic premise of the water cycle. However, much of our water man-made water systems are linear in nature: running from catchment basin through to use through to discharge and eventually to the sea. For many contexts, a linear model does not allow for optimisation. For example, a circular approach can allow for value to be extracted from a wastewater stream so that resource flows can be enhanced.

Depending on the scale, perhaps a better approach is to circulate water in closed loops. In this model, water can reused, better maintaining its value. Closed loop systems can operate at the ‘unit’ (for example, process or building) scale, at development (or campus) scale or at the bigger ‘city’ scale.

Taking a systems approach, we are beginning to better understand the role that water plays in the ‘circular economy’.

Biography
Martin Shouler is the Global Environmental Services Engineering and Public Health Engineering Skills Leader at the international engineering consultancy Arup. Martin works on water and related projects across both Building Engineering and Infrastructure.
Martin started his career at the Building Research Establishment (BRE), spending 15 years in the Environment Division, ultimately leading the Public Health Engineering and Water Team. Amongst other things, he was involved in undertaking research and consultancy to support building regulations, water regulations and assisted in the development of the sustainability assessment method BREEAM. On leaving BRE, Martin joined Arup as head of Public Health Engineering for London.

In 2003, Martin became the founding Chairman of the Society of Public Health Engineers (SoPHE) which is the professional organisation for public health engineers in the UK and across the globe. He also served as an advisor to the Environment Agency with a special interest covering the water and construction industries.

Martin has extensive experience in the field of Water Engineering having been involved in a wide range of major projects, in design, research and consultancy across the world. Particular expertise includes water supply, sanitation, sewerage, water conservation and efficiency, water quality, water treatment, wastewater engineering, and infrastructure services. In addition, he has a keen interest in sustainability particularly related to minimising water use and energy associated with its use. He was a member of the Expert Group advising the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on the revision of water related Building Regulations. In addition, he is a member of British Standards Institution (BSI) committees responsible for a number of water sector standards and has been involved in the development many British and European standards.

Martin is responsible for Arup’s partnership with WRc on a new water innovation service – Venturi helping to accelerate the adoption of novel solutions in the water sector.

Martin is a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Plumbers and serves on their Admissions and Technical Committees.

 

Assessing the element of surprise of record-breaking flood events

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📥  Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience, WIRC @ Bath

This month WIRC @ Bath is exploring the breadth of water research being undertaken at the University of Bath.

Title: Assessing the element of surprise of record-breaking flood events

Speaker: Dr Thomas Kjeldsen

28896 Dr Thomas Kjeldsen. Dept of Architecture and Civil Engineering. Faculty of Engineering Staff Portraits 3 Feb 2016. Client: Beth Jones - Faculty of Engineering

When: Thursday 15 December 2016 at 1.15pm

Where: Room 3.6, Chancellors' Building, University of Bath

Abstract: The occurrence of record-breaking flood events continuous to cause damage and disruption despite significant investments in flood defences, suggesting that these events are in some sense surprising.  This study develops a new statistical test to help assess if a flood event can be considered surprising or not.  The test statistic is derived from annual maximum series (AMS) of extreme events, and Monte Carlo simulations were used to derive critical values for a range of significance levels based on a Generalized Logistic distribution.  The method is tested on a national dataset of past events from the United Kingdom, and is found to correctly identify recent large event that have been identified elsewhere as causing a significant change in UK flood management policy.  No temporal trend in the frequency or magnitude of surprising events was identified, and no link could be established between the occurrences of surprising events and large-scale drivers.

 

Shale Oil and Gas and its Impact on the Water Industry – The Truths, Myths and Legends

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📥  WIRC @ Bath

We are very excited to invite you to this event, shared with CIWEM and PIG. Please register early via the IOW website.

shale-oil

 

Time: 5.30pm, Thursday 23rd November 2016

Venue: Room 4.1, Chancellor's Building, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract:

Join the Institute of Water South West Area as we investigate Shale Oil and Gas Exploration with RSKW Ltd.

RSKW has advised water and energy companies internationally on issues relating to shale oil and gas extraction - from geological, groundwater and general environmental perspectives, as well as delivering guidance on strategic risk management. RSKW are part of a European and US consortium currently mid-way through the delivery of a €2.7 million project, researching the environmental aspects of Shale Gas operations. The project - known as SHEER (SHale gas Exploration and Exploitation induced Risks) is funded through the HORIZON 2020 programme. The project outputs will inform the legislation for and regulation of Unconventional Oil and Gas across the whole of Europe.

Water management and shale oil and gas - Andrew Gunning of RSKW Ltd will address the truths, myths and legends surrounding exploration for shale oil and gas. Initially developed in the US, this was an emergent phenomenon which resulted in a rapid increase in onshore drilling using the evolving techniques of horizontal drilling and ‘fracking’. This presentation draws on experience gained from project work for UK water companies and the EU SHEER project, in assessing risks to drinking water aquifers, the regulations in place to mitigate those risks and areas where further investigation is required.

Kindly hosted by the University of Bath, this event will also provide an opportunity to hear about WIRC @ Bath and the WISE CDT.

 

 

World Tsunami Awareness day

📥  WIRC @ Bath

Dr Philippe Blondel, an Associate at the WIRC @ Bath, is featured in the recent International Business Times (IBT) news for the World Tsunami Awareness Day, 5th November 2016. He told IBT that "increased international efforts are necessary to map oceans. Indeed, as we map the seabed we discover more and more risky seismic areas as well as areas that have a potential of landslide. In theory, we know have completely mapped the ocean floor, but these maps are not completely accurate".

Dr Philippe Blondel's research interests include

  • marine acoustics
  • seabed and habitat mapping
  • ambient noise underwater
  • marine renewable energies
  • innovative imaging tool

 

 

Bioprocesses, biopolymers and biosensors: delivering new solutions to environmental problems through and understanding of microbial systems

📥  Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience, WIRC @ Bath

By Dr Thomas Seviour, MIChemE CEng, SCELCE, NTU (Singapore)

thomas_seviour

Thursday 23th June at 1.15pm
Room 2.01, Building 1 West, University of Bath

Abstract: Cells mediate interactions with the environment through their membranes and extracellular matrices, which comprise a range of biopolymers that facilitate key extracellular processes. These interfaces can be exploited to increase stability, yield and throughput in Bioprocesses, particularly in areas of waste treatment and biofuel production. The Biopolymers that make up the matrix are themselves very valuable and renewable resources. Agents to monitor extracellular processes present as attractive Biosensors for a range of biofilm-mediated maladies. This seminar will discuss how an understanding of microbial systems can be used to deliver new solutions to a range of complex environmental problems, by increasing yield and stability of Bioprocesses, promoting the solubilisation and recovery of Biopolymers, and developing Biosensors for use in diagnostics.

Biography: Dr Thomas Seviour is a Senior Research Fellow at the Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering at the Nanyang Technological University. He worked previously as a wastewater process engineer and engineering consultant, but has since changed tact and now applies himself to elucidating the biological chemistry of microbial systems, with a particular focus on biointerfaces such as the the exopolymeric matrix. He remains motivated by a desire to translate this knowledge to real world solutions for a range of various environmental problems.

 

Chemistry and Water: Challenges & Solutions in a Changing World

📥  Water Resources, Water Treatment, Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience, WIRC @ Bath

We are all aware of the breadth of issues that we face as a planet when it comes to securing sustainable water supplies in the future. Global changes in climate, land use and demographics mean that there will be different pressures on water availability and quality and these have the potential to affect human health and the environment. Whilst some challenges are long-standing, such as ensuring adequate sanitation for all, we also face emerging issues, in the form of new pollutants, such as hormones and pharmaceuticals.

Last year in Leipzig, leading scientists from China, Germany, Japan, the UK and the USA met at the 6th Chemical Sciences in Society Symposium (CS3) to discuss how chemistry could contribute to future global water security. The meeting is part of an ongoing series that brings together leading scientists from these nations, with the support of their national chemical societies and national funding bodies to discuss the role of the chemical sciences in different global challenges.

The discussions from the meeting have been captured in the recently launched white paper Chemistry and Water: Challenges and Solutions in Changing World, which highlights the future research directions, collaborations and policies that are needed to ensure global water needs can be met in the future. The discussion at the meeting encompassed wide range of issues, including  the link between water, the environment and human health, the need for ever-evolving detection methods, improved water treatment techniques and the opportunities presented for recovering valuable materials from water.

A number of themes emerged from discussions across all areas, such as the need for chemists to work alongside other disciplines, such as engineering, ecology and epidemiology and the importance of continual international knowledge exchange and collaboration.  The white paper also makes more detailed recommendations for research directions in the different themes of environment and health, detection, treatment and recovery of materials and includes case studies on how water challenges are being tackled in each nation.

 

Water Quality Monitoring and Electricity from Wastewaters with Microbial Fuel Cells

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📥  WIRC @ Bath

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.

Title: Water Quality Monitoring and Electricity from Wastewaters with Microbial Fuel Cells

Speaker: Dr Mirella Di Lorenzo

mirella-di-lorenzo3

When: Tuesday 10th May 2016 at 5.15pm

Where: Room 3.7, Building 3 West, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are devices that, by taking advances of metabolic pathways in microorganisms, directly convert the chemical energy of organic compounds into electricity. In recent years, MFCs have raised great attention as sustainable and clean energy-conversion technology capable of utilising a wide range of organic fuels, including wastewater from industrial, agricultural and domestic sources.

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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.”

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

Visiting tour to water treatment plant of Anglian Water

Visiting tour to water treatment plant of Anglian Water

“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.”