Let's talk about water

Whetting appetites for Bath's water research

Tagged: Chemical Engineering

10th IWA Biofilm Reactor Conference

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📥  Other

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.

 

Spring workshops

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📥  WIRC @ Bath, WISE CDT

The following blog post was contributed by Olivia Bailey, a WISE CDT PhD Resarcher in the Department of Chemical Engineering.


British Water: Off-mains Sewerage

In March I attended a workshop offered by British Water to address the options and challenges for off-mains sewerage in the UK. There were informative talks and some lively discussions from many stakeholders in the off-main sewerage world. The Environment Agency gave an overview of legislation regarding wastewater discharge in rural communities and approaches to tackling catchment pollution. Treatment consultants made the case for the good design and installation of septic as well as the need for package treatment plants. Finally, a representative for the National Trust spoke to us of the challenges and great responsibilities that come with managing the sewage of our beautiful, historic properties. The quote of the day came from one speaker who made the enlightened assessment that

‘mankind has come so far with technology over the years but still we are content to flush our toilets into a leaky trench’.

All in all, it was a very educational day in which a wide variation of off-mains stakeholders gathered in one room to work towards a common goal – the safe disposal of our sewage.

European Water Innovation Lab (WIL)

In April I attended the European Water Innovation Lab (WIL) on the coast of the Netherlands. This inspirational workshop brought together 40 young professionals from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. We were trained to think holistically, design innovatively, and communicate effectively across cultures – in the hope of developing future water leaders. By uniting young researchers, innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs, WIL creates a platform to build new relationships, accelerate knowledge sharing, build transferable leadership skills, and co-develop potential solutions to water challenges across the globe. This was a really rewarding week where I was empowered to share my ideas and gain both technical and stimulating insights from others in a creative atmosphere. I met some hugely interesting people doing great work in the water sector and this really opened my eyes to the possibilities that are available in my future career. The innovation and drive that I saw this week has made me confident and excited to continue building my interesting network of global water colleagues. I left WIL feeling inspired and motivated to continue my PhD research and I’m very excited for my future career in water.

 

The Young Water Professionals conference: made by YWPs for YWPs!

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📥  WIRC @ Bath

The following blog post was contributed by Ana Lanham from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Marta Coma from the Department of Chemistry.


The Water Sector recognised some years ago that it was ageing and that it needed fresh talent if it was going to solve the important challenges looming ahead. With this in mind, the International Water Association (IWA), the largest international network of water professionals with members in 130 countries, began to actively push for higher visibility and empowerment of Young Water Professionals (YWP). The UK YWP Chapter is one of the strongest in the world. Its annual conference is one of the largest gatherings of YWPs and is unique in the UK for offering a tailored conference for professionals emerging in the water industry. The conference, now in its 18th year, has been growing sustainably ever since its inception in 1999 and this year attracted a record of almost 200 participants to think about how to achieve the vision of “A Water World without Boundaries”. Organised by the University of Bath as part of its 50th anniversary festivities, together with partners such as Black & Veatch, Wessex Water, The Foundation for Water Research, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Institution for Chemical Engineers (IChemE), it brought together speakers and participants from academia and industry, from the UK and abroad. The scientific and organising committee involved more than twenty early career and senior professionals to deliver a program packed with presentations, workshops, discussions, new ideas and opportunities for career development.

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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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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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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.

 

Water Reclamation in North Africa

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📥  WIRC @ Bath

This December 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: Water Reclamation in North Africa

Speaker: Dr Tom Arnot

When: Tuesday 15th December at 5.15pm

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

Abstract: The Middle East and North African region (MENA) has a population of about 430 million people. In 2014 it received an annual average rainfall of about 75 mm, compared to 1300 mm in the UK. On top of this the region is mainly arid, very arid or hyper-arid and so evaporation due to high temperatures is a significant challenge. Climate change is driving the desert area north, so the relatively fertile and highly populated areas around the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean are also under threat. On top of this the region is politically unstable, with the Arab Spring being a recent sea change, but conflicts in countries like Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel / Palestine are not new…  Prompted by the ISIL attack in Paris, Prince Charles has recently asserted that climate change is the root cause of the instability in the MENA region. Whether you support his suggestion or not, access to water, or the lack of it, is frequently cited as a fundamental contributory factor in these unhappy conflicts.

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Improving water treatment using chemical oxidants

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📥  Water Active, Water Treatment

Dr Jannis Wenk, Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering, explains how research at the Water Innovation and Research Centre at the University of Bath (WIRC @ Bath)  is investigating how chemical oxidants can be used to improve water treatment in the October issue of Water Active.

Water Active is the UK's leading water industry monthly magazine and has the highest number of readers in the water industry. This article continues the monthly series of features by researchers in WIRC @ Bath .

Read the full article written by Dr Jannis Wenk on pages 10 and 12 in the October issue.