Let's talk about water

Whetting appetites for Bath's water research

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

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📥  Other

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.

 

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

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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.”

 

Reactor development for water treatment

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📥  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: Reactor development for water treatment: From macro to micro scale using bacterial cells, photocatalysis and enzymes

Speaker: Dr Emma Emanuelsson

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When: Thursday 28th April 2016 at 1.15pm

Where: Room 4.10, Chancellors' Building, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: Many industries generate wastewaters that are not suitable for conventional biological wastewater treatment. This could be due to the presence of ‘hard to degrade’ compounds such as pesticides, chlorinated and volatile organic compounds or high concentration of detergents or fats. Other contaminants, such as salts, acids, alkali and metals, may also be toxic to the microorganisms and thus jeopardise the treatment. These wastewaters must therefore be treated before they can be sent to a wastewater treatment plant. The interesting challenge is that there is no ‘standardised approach’, instead a variety of strategies are required to deal with these various contaminants.

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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

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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.

 

Heat recovery from sewer systems

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📥  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: Heat recovery from sewer systems

Speaker: Professor Jan Hofman

Prof Jan Hofman

When: Thursday 17th March 2016 at 1.15pm

Where: Room 4.10, Chancellors' Building, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: Do you ever think about how much energy you are washing away when taking a shower? Or how much heat is lost from your house with the wastewater? In a modern house this can be up to 40 % of the total energy use for room heating and production of hot tap water. Recovering and re-using that heat can significantly increase the energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of a house. In Switzerland, Germany and Scandinavia, systems are in operation that can recover thermal energy from wastewater. Research in The Netherlands and recently at the University of Bath campus gives insight into the availability of thermal energy in the sewer system. The heat availability follows the patterns of water consumption at home. Most of the heat is available during two large peaks every day. The largest is the morning peak. At that time many people take a shower after waking up. The second peak is during the afternoon and evening, when people come back home from work.

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Assessing the element of surprise of record-breaking flood events

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

Speaker: Dr Thomas Kjeldsen

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When: Tuesday 8th March 2016 at 5.15pm

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

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.

Contact: Please email Sarah Eliot if you need any further information.

 

Water in the Circular Economy

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📥  WIRC @ Bath

The following blog post was contributed by Dr Ana Lanham, a Lecturer in Water Science and Engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering.


“Water is the natural starting point for the circular economy” said Esther de Lange (MEP) while introducing the panel of speakers for a meeting on water in the context of the recently adopted Circular Economy Package. The meeting took place on the 27th of January 2016 at the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels and Dr Ana Lanham, a lecturer from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath and member of WIRC @ Bath, was able to attend.

The panel, in addition to Ms de Lange, who chairs the EP’s group on water, included four speakers that represented viewpoints from across different sectors relevant to water: Marianne Wenning, Director for 'Quality of Life, Water & Air' in DG Environment, presenting the strategy from the European Commission, Diane d’Arras, VP Water Europe SUEZ Environment, with a view from Water Utilities, Christina Von Westernhagen, Director EU Government Affairs and Public Policy Dow Chemical, representing the industry and Jan Busstra, Water and Marine Director of Dutch Ministry for Infrastructure & Environment, representing the experience of a National Government.

All speakers emphasised the importance of water as a crucial resource for all sectors of society and insisted that while we are already facing problems in terms of water scarcity and quality,  where 11% of the EU territory is water stressed, that this would  likely increase significantly as a result of the accrued impacts of Climate Change. For this reason, the “buzz” for the Circular Economy is very welcome as it sets the tone and lays the necessary framework for the promotion of creating value in closed loops.

However, many speakers and members of the audience also recognised that this package is only a first step in that direction and that there are many challenges that both companies, policy-makers and citizens need to overcome. For instance, the need to balance strategies such as artificial aquifer recharge with the risk of further spread of emerging pollutants, the need to enable resource recovery from wastewater through appropriate legislation without compromising health and safety aspects and finally the need to discuss models for water pricing and costing without compromising access to clean and safe water and without hindering economic growth or industrial activities.

This package addresses some of these issues, such as for instance the revision and unification of legislation on fertilisers, or the incentive to water reuse by recognising the crucial need for standards that define sufficient quality parameters to ensure a safe repurposing of the water. However, more importantly, the overall impression I felt in the room was that it also serves as an encouragement, a leadership vision that enables industries, citizens, governments to talk to each other and aspire to (re)invent value in recycling, repurposing, reducing, recovering, reusing and (re)designing.

 

Going down the drain - Engineered nanoparticles and the water cycle

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📥  WIRC @ Bath

This February see 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: Going down the drain - Engineered nanoparticles and the water cycle

Speaker: Dr Patrick Bauerlein

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When: Thursday 25th February 2016 at 1.15pm

Where: Room 4.10, Chancellors' Building, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) can be found in many different consumer products, industrial and agricultural processes. The production of these ENMs is still rising substantially and for the moment this will not change. The most common nanoparticles are fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, metal oxides and metals. Organic nanoparticles, such as the fullerenes are common constituents in cosmetics, while functionalised fullerenes are good semiconductors in organic solar cells. Ag nanoparticles are applied frequently in healthcare products and textiles. Au is an integral part of electronic equipment and is employed as a catalyst. Probably the most common nanoparticle in daily life is TiO2. It is used in consumer products such as sunscreens, cosmetics, toothpaste, paintings and certain food products (chewing gum). ENMs are often used thoughtlessly and in abundance with the consequence that these particles can filter into the environment. For this reason, it is important to be able to detect them and understand their behaviour in the environment. In recent years a lot of effort has been put into development of these methods. This has made it possible to shed light on their behaviour and whereabouts they are in the environment.

In this presentation Patrick will show you why nanoparticles are used in our daily life, what we have to do to be able to measure them and their potential use in water treatment.

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Understanding the impact of social norms on private behaviours: Examining on-campus shower use

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📥  WIRC @ Bath

This February see 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: Understanding the impact of social norms on private behaviours: Examining on-campus shower use

Speaker: Elaine Gallagher

When: Tuesday 9th February 2016 at 5.15pm

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

Abstract: In line with the targets of the 2008 Climate Change Act, the University of Bath is committed to greatly reducing the carbon footprint of the University to sustainable levels. The overuse of water is one carbon intensive activity which must be addressed due to the excessive amounts which are consumed on campus on a daily basis. This research focused on shower related water use as this is a behaviour which can vary dramatically from person to person. Having first collected data to establish the length of time spent in the shower, a social norms intervention was then applied, as social norms interventions have been shown to be a robust behaviour change mechanism. This involved providing students with information about how their shower time compared with the average time of the other participants, with an expectation that students would alter their shower duration in line with the average, or social norm. As social norms are generally effective for public behaviours, it is uncertain as to their effectiveness in changing private behaviours such as showering. This exploratory study aimed to uncover the utility of a social norms intervention in altering students showering times.

Contact: Please email Sarah Eliot if you need any further information.