On 29th September 2015 at the University's annual Impact Celebration Dinner the collaboration between Wessex Water and the University of Bath received the 'Aspiring Business Impact' award in recognition of their successful partnership in recent years. The event acknowledged the collaborative work supported by the University's EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA), which promotes innovation and knowledge exchange.
Dr Tom Arnot, a Co-Director, provides an overview of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Water Informatics: Science and Engineering (WISE) in the latest issue of Water Active. The Centre is a newly funded and innovative research venture between the GW4 alliance universities: University of Bath, University of Bristol, Cardiff University and the University of Exeter. It has been created to meet the growing need for engineers and scientists capable of working at the interface of traditionally separate informatics, science and engineering disciplines, in order to manage the water cycle effectively and sustainably.
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 the Water Innovation and Research Centre at the University of Bath (WIRC @ Bath).
Two of Bath’s researchers have been featured in this month’s edition of Water Active magazine.
Dr Davide Mattia and Dr Darrell Patterson, both from our Department of Chemical Engineering, recently secured £1m from the EPSRC to research novel membranes. One of the applications of these will be in water filtration.
Through the project, Drs Mattia and Patterson will work with a number of significant industry partners including Johnson Matthey, Evonik, GlaxoSmithKline, BP, Pervatech, Bluestone Global Tech, Anglian Water, Severn Trent Water, Thames Water and Scottish Water.
The new project has already received widespread media attention, including:
- Water Active
- Water waste processing (70,000 readers)
- Processing Magazine
- The Water Network
- Water Briefing
- NZ Healthtec
Dr Tim Mays, Head of our Department of Chemical Engineering, added: “This is a fantastic project for the University to be involved in. There is a wealth of water research expertise at Bath, across all disciplines. This new grant will see Drs Patterson and Mattia collaborating with water utility providers and other application areas from across the country, and will cement their already established expertise in membrane research.”
EPSRC is investing £4.5 million to safeguard the UK’s water, energy and food security. With the world’s population due to grow to eight billion by 2030, humanity is facing a crisis with predictions of increasing demand and shortages of water, energy and food.
Water and energy are needed to produce food; water is required to produce energy and with the advent of biofuels, energy and food are increasingly competing for land. This means that any shortage or disruption of one resource will impact on the other two. This unbreakable link between all the resources is known as the water-energy-food nexus. Mirella Di Lorenzo from the Department of Chemical Engineering, together with other 25 academics, was selected to participate in January 2015 in a sandpit organised by EPSRC on this topic. She was the only academic representing the University of Bath in this sandpit and the project she was involved in, Vaccinating the Nexus, was awarded £1.6 million (Grant EP/N005961/1).
This research, led by Dr Paul Kemp, University of Southampton, will be conducted by an inter-disciplinary groups of scientists based at 8 universities in the UK.
This project will focus on improving the resilience of water, energy and food systems. It will investigate how nexus ‘shocks’, such as extreme climatic events that cause flooding or drought, energy shortages, or unsustainable infrastructure development, may help inform the development of more environmentally sustainable and secure systems.
The project will use information collected during the recent flooding on the Somerset Levels to model the potential for alternative flood resistant agricultural systems, including those used to produce bioenergy crops. Further, planning decision support tools will be developed to help develop an environmentally sensitive approach to deliver the UK energy and water infrastructure plan. Although the project will focus on UK case studies it will have international relevance and help develop expertise and capability of global value.
Dr Pal Kemp, said: “To ensure future security of supply we need to develop innovative approaches to environmentally sustainable resource management. This can only be achieved by adopting creative interdisciplinary approaches to develop solutions to the complex challenges faced."
Dr Mirella Di Lorenzo said "We have a range of different backgrounds on board varying from engineering to crop science, maths and social science. This a unique opportunity for me to be involved in such an exciting multidisciplinary project. In Bath we will work on the development of on-site sensors for the online monitoring of microbial activity in soils and nutrient depletion/ pollutant release from soils to water systems due to extreme climate changes such as floodings or droughts".
Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of EPSRC said, “This is one of the most important challenges facing the human race, and one of the most complex. The uniqueness of these projects comes from studying all three problems together, something that hasn’t been done before.
"This project is a great opportunity for scientists with expertise in different disciplines to come together to find solutions".
Researchers from our University have been awarded a £1m Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant to research and develop the next generation of long lasting ‘immortal membranes’ that will be able to separate water from problematic particles such as pharmaceuticals or pollutants.
This funding will enable a collaborative project entitled ‘From membrane material synthesis to fabrication and function’ (SynFabFun), led by Newcastle University, to establish a UK virtual membrane centre that will act to unite the UK membrane research community.
The programme will look at improving membrane performance in four main industry sectors important to the UK and worldwide: Energy, Manufacturing, Pharma and Water. In all these industries, membranes have the potential to, and in some cases already do, provide a lower energy alternative to existing separation technology, requiring significantly smaller capital costs.
Membranes are not yet widely used for some applications due to their operating costs, requiring periodic cleaning and, eventually, replacement. This is caused by the loss of permeability and/or selectivity during service, and is due to both the membrane material changing and degrading (known as ‘ageing’) as well as a build-up of unwanted material on the surface of the membrane (known as ‘fouling’).