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Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 199.11K | Year: 2008

The water industry is the fourth most energy intensive secotr in the UK and uses approximately 2 -3 % of net UK electricity releasing approximately four million tonnes of green house gas emissions (carbon dioxide equivalent) every year. The industry is making progress to produce more renewable energy from its waste biomass sources. However, only 493 GWh was generated by water utilities in the UK in 2005/06 about 6.4 % of its actual requirements. The government has called for research into potentially more efficient energy generation technologies from biomass which would contribute significantly to the UKs policy objectives of 10% of electricity supply from renewable energy by 2010 and for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Innovative research into low carbon treatment and production and storage and use of biogas in the water sector has the potential to offer step-change benefits to the UKs energy system. This project seeks to secure a paradigm shift in wastewater treatment and biogas application. A pilot scale feasibility study is proposed to examine: (1) the fundamental operation of an anaerobic bioreactor using fortified influent wastewater; and (2) increasing the energy-production capacity of the generated renewable biogas. This approach significantly alters the wastewater treatment flow-sheet by reducing dependence on the energy intensive activated sludge process. The project has the potential for UK energy savings of 0.12 kWh per cubic metre of wastewater treated. Over 1 million cubic metres of wastewater are treated every day which potentially corresponds to savings of 438GWh per year and 188,469 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. This is approximately equivalent to off setting 122,000 people flying London to New York return. Potentially fortified anaerobic treatment will also yield >10 % more biogas than is currently available from anaerobic digesters. Therefore, it is important to increase its energy production capacity in line with government developments for local energy and increased energy security. Currently biogas is used in combined heat and power in the UK water sector but biogas use in fuel cells, as a transport gas and for gas supply could provide greater flexibility and efficiency with more storage opportunities. However, these applications require biogas to be upgraded. This project seeks to examine in-situ methane enrichment to provide a better economy of scale for upgrading biogas and thereby maximising the overall energy production capacity of wastewater carbon. This project will therefore help to provide the scientific advance and industrial innovation to utilise biomass to meet the increasing demands for sustainable products from renewable sources called for by the government.

Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Training Grant | Award Amount: 3.68M | Year: 2014

The UK water sector is experiencing a period of profound change with both public and private sector actors seeking evidence-based responses to a host of emerging global, regional and national challenges which are driven by demographic, climatic, and land use changes as well as regulatory pressures for more efficient delivery of services. Although the UK Water Industry is keen to embrace the challenge and well placed to innovate, it lacks the financial resources to support longer term skills and knowledge generation. A new cadre of engineers is required for the water industry to not only make our society more sustainable and profitable but to develop a new suite of goods and services for a rapidly urbanising world. EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training provide an ideal mechanism with which to remediate the emerging shortfall in advanced engineering skills within the sector. In particular, the training of next-generation engineering leaders for the sector requires a subtle balance between industrial and academic contributions; calling for a funding mechanism which privileges industrial need but provides for significant academic inputs to training and research. The STREAM initiative draws together five of the UKs leading water research and training groups to secure the future supply of advanced engineering professionals in this area of vital importance to the UK. Led by the Centre for Water Science at Cranfield University, the consortium also draws on expertise from the Universities of Sheffield and Bradford, Imperial College London, Newcastle University, and the University of Exeter. STREAM offers Engineering Doctorate and PhD awards through a programme which incorporates; (i) acquisition of advanced technical skills through attendance at masters level training courses, (ii) tuition in the competencies and abilities expected of senior engineers, and (iii) doctoral level research projects. Our EngD students spend at least 75% of their time working in industry or on industry specified research problems. Example research topics to be addressed by the schemes students include; delivering drinking water quality and protecting public health; reducing carbon footprint; reducing water demand; improving service resilience and reliability; protecting natural water bodies; reducing sewer flooding, developing and implementing strategies for Integrated Water Management, and delivering new approaches to characterising, communicating and mitigating risk and uncertainty. Fifteen studentships per year for five years will be offered with each position being sponsored by an industrial partner from the water sector. A series of common attendance events will underpin programme and group identity. These include, (i) an initial three-month taught programme based at Cranfield University, (ii) an open invitation STREAM symposium and (iii) a Challenge Week to take place each summer including transferrable skills training and guest lectures from leading industrialists and scientists. Outreach activities will extend participation in the programme, pursue collaboration with associated initiatives, promote brand awareness of the EngD qualification, and engage with a wide range of stakeholder groups (including the public) to promote engagement with and understanding of STREAM activities. Strategic direction for the programme will be formulated through an Industry Advisory Board comprising representatives from professional bodies, employers, and regulators. This body will provide strategic guidance informed by sector needs, review the operational aspects of the taught and research components as a quality control, and conduct foresight studies of relevant research areas. A small International Steering Committee will ensure global relevance for the programme. The total cost of the STREAM programme is £9m, £2.8m of which is being invested by industry and £1.8m by the five collaborating universities. Just under £4.4m is being requested from EPSRC

Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Department of Trade & Industry | Award Amount: 296.43K | Year: 2006

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