Let's talk about water

Whetting appetites for Bath's water research

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

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📥  Other, Water supply from source to tap, 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.

 

WIRC @ Bath celebrates its first anniversary

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📥  Wessex Water, WIRC @ Bath

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


To celebrate the first anniversary of the Water Innovation and Research Centre (WIRC) @ Bath water researchers at the University were invited to join a get-together event. The event intended to bring together water researchers across all departments and different areas of research to spark new collaborations and ideas, and just to meet each other.

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The event was a large success and it was impressive to see the variety of water-related research that is conducted at the University. Held in the 4 West foyer on Thursday 21st January 2016, a diverse group of about 50 participants joined, including a delegation from Wessex Water. Many researchers used the opportunity to show posters outlining latest results or ideas for future research. After the introduction speech by the Director of WIRC, Professor Jan Hofman, intensive scientific discussions took place.

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Global Water Security: Pipe Dream or Reality?

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📥  WIRC @ Bath

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.

Title: Global Water Security: Pipe Dream or Reality?

Speaker: Michael Norton MBE

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When: Thursday 28th January 2016 at 1.15pm

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

Abstract: In Earth’s 45th millionth century a looming and global crisis of freshwater scarcity is on our doorstep; a crisis that is accelerating through our unbridled development, burgeoning demand for food and energy, and the effects of climate change. Only 0.1% of the total global water volume of 1.4 billion cubic kilometers is accessible freshwater; and we are already withdrawing one third of our accessible renewable water resource, much of which is needed to sustain our ecosystems and biodiversity. Estimates suggest that we would need to invest 5 times the current global rate in new water supplies if we are to meet projected demand in 20 years time.  With little chance of investment of such scale taking place, there is a compelling need for water professionals to emerge from their comfort zone. Engineers can play a pivotal role in addressing the water sustainability challenges, by engaging with politicians, decision-makers and those with influencing power. New models for integrated water management are needed to address complex multi-stakeholder demand patterns. Whilst we can and should develop cost efficient water technology, water professionals must grasp this moment to put themselves at the center of water science, technology, politics, environment and economics.

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How can developments in Water Accounting inform and reshape asset management practices in the UK water sector?

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📥  WIRC @ Bath

This January 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: How can developments in Water Accounting inform and reshape asset management practices in the UK water sector?

Speaker: Chrysoula Papacharalampou

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When: Tuesday 12th January 2016 at 5.15pm

Where: Room 2.2, Building 6 East, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: The Natural Capital Declaration (NCD, UNEP 2011) requests companies to disclose the dependence and impact of their assets and services on the natural environment through transparent qualitative and quantitative reporting. Yet, limited work has been done so far. Efforts have mainly focused on the economic valuation of natural captial and ecosystem services, rather than the creation of methodologies devoted to reporting and accounting for the mutual relationships among built, financial and natural assets. Developments in the field of Water Accounting (i.e. the systematic process of identifying, quantifying, reporting and publishing information about water as a resource) could be used as a basis for such methodologies.

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14th World Congress on Anaerobic Digestion

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📥  Wessex Water, WIRC @ Bath

The following blog post was contributed by Gergely Forgacs, a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Chemical Engineering and Ian Law, Technical Manager at GENeco, Wessex Water.


Event Name: 14th World Congress on Anaerobic Digestion

Theme: International forum for discussion on state-of-art of the anaerobic bioprocesses

Date: 15-18th of November, 2015

Venue: Viña del Mar, Chile

Number of Delegates: 700 Delegates registered for the conference

Gergely Forgacs (WIRC @ Bath) and Ian Law (Wesesx Water) recently attended the 14th World Congress on Anaerobic Digestion which was held in Viña del Mar, Chile on 15-18 November 2015, and organised by the International Water Association. The conference is the leading international event and it covered a wide range of topics related to the application of anaerobic digestion processes, including:

  1. Reuse of effluent and digestate
  2. Biogas upgrading and management
  3. Microbiology of anaerobic digestion
  4. Resource recovery
  5. New products, novel process configuration and emerging technologies
  6. Modelling, instrumentation and control
  7. Environmental management (life cycle assessment, clean development mechanisms)
  8. Up-stream and downstream processes; pre-treatments and post-treatments
  9. Low-tech solutions for developing countries

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