Bradford, United Kingdom
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Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 4.73M | Year: 2011

National infrastructure (NI) systems (energy, transport, water, waste and ICT) in the UK and in advanced economies globally face serious challenges. The 2009 Council for Science and Technology (CST) report on NI in the UK identified significant vulnerabilities, capacity limitations and a number of NI components nearing the end of their useful life. It also highlighted serious fragmentation in the arrangements for infrastructure provision in the UK. There is an urgent need to reduce carbon emissions from infrastructure, to respond to future demographic, social and lifestyle changes and to build resilience to intensifying impacts of climate change. If this process of transforming NI is to take place efficiently, whilst also minimising the associated risks, it will need to be underpinned by a long-term, cross-sectoral approach to understanding NI performance under a range of possible futures. The systems of systems analysis that must form the basis for such a strategic approach does not yet exist - this inter-disciplinary research programme will provide it.The aim of the UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium is to develop and demonstrate a new generation of system simulation models and tools to inform analysis, planning and design of NI. The research will deal with energy, transport, water, waste and ICT systems at a national scale, developing new methods for analysing their performance, risks and interdependencies. It will provide a virtual environment in which we will test strategies for long term investment in NI and understand how alternative strategies perform with respect to policy constraints such as reliability and security of supply, cost, carbon emissions, and adaptability to demographic and climate change.The research programme is structured around four major challenges:1. How can infrastructure capacity and demand be balanced in an uncertain future? We will develop methods for modelling capacity, demand and interdependence in NI systems in a compatible way under a wide range of technological, socio-economic and climate futures. We will thereby provide the tools needed to identify robust strategies for sustainably balancing capacity and demand.2. What are the risks of infrastructure failure and how can we adapt NI to make it more resilient?We will analyse the risks of interdependent infrastructure failure by establishing network models of NI and analysing the consequences of failure for people and the economy. Information on key vulnerabilities and risks will be used to identify ways of adapting infrastructure systems to reduce risks in future.3. How do infrastructure systems evolve and interact with society and the economy? Starting with idealised simulations and working up to the national scale, we will develop new models of how infrastructure, society and the economy evolve in the long term. We will use the simulation models to demonstrate alternative long term futures for infrastructure provision and how they might be reached.4. What should the UKs strategy be for integrated provision of NI in the long term? Working with a remarkable group of project partners in government and industry, we will use our new methods to develop and test alternative strategies for Britains NI, building an evidence-based case for a transition to sustainability. We will analyse the governance arrangements necessary to ensure that this transition is realisable in practice.A Programme Grant provides the opportunity to work flexibly with key partners in government and industry to address research challenges of national importance in a sustained way over five years. Our ambition is that through development of a new generation of tools, in concert with our government and industry partners, we will enable a revolution in the strategic analysis of NI provision in the UK, whilst at the same time becoming an international landmark programme recognised for novelty, research excellence and impact.

Warwick C.,Cranfield University | Guerreiro A.,Cranfield University | Gomez-Caballero A.,University of the Basque Country | Wood E.,Yorkshire Water | And 3 more authors.
Biosensors and Bioelectronics | Year: 2014

The current standard method used for measuring soluble phosphate in environmental water samples is based on a colourimetric approach, developed in the early 1960s. In order to provide an alternative, label free sensing solution, a molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) was designed to function as a phosphate receptor. A combination of functional monomer ( N-allylthiourea), cross-linker and monomer/template ratios were optimised in order to maximise the binding capacity for phosphate. When produced in membrane format, the MIP's ability to produce a reversible change in conductance in the presence of phosphate was explored for fabrication of a sensor which was able to selectively detect the presence of phosphate compared to sulphate, nitrate and chloride. In wastewater samples the sensor had a limit of detection of 0.16. mg. P/l, and a linear range between 0.66 and 8. mg. P/l. This is below the minimum monitoring level (1. mg. P/l) as required by current legislation for wastewater discharges, making the sensor as developed promising for direct quantification of phosphate in environmental monitoring applications. © 2013.

Jolly M.,Black and Veatch Ltd | Green S.,Yorkshire Water | Wallis-Lage C.,Black and Veatch Corporation | Buchanan A.,Black and Veatch Ltd
Water and Environment Journal | Year: 2010

Many activated sludge plants (ASP) use fine bubble diffused air as their source of oxygen. Blowers are attached to air pipework, which distributes air to a network of diffusers installed on the floor of the ASP tank. Modern diffusers are made from a rubber membrane which flexes to allow fine bubbles of air to pass through holes in the diffusers which then pass into the mixed liquors in the tank. The diffusers come as circular discs, tubes and more recently mats or panels. Yorkshire Water is in the process of building new ASP at some of their biggest sewage treatment works to meet new final effluent consent standards associated with the freshwater fisheries directive (FFD). These new works will treat sewage from a combined population of over two million people in the Yorkshire area. Black & Veatch is involved in some of the first works to have a new type of fine bubble diffuser installed in the ASP basins. These diffusers resemble a mat or panel and are fixed to the floor of the tank as opposed to circular and tubular diffusers which as fixed above the floor. Oxygen transfer testing has been carried out to show the efficiency of these aeration systems, which may offer significant savings in operating costs to water operators. This paper examines the results from the tests and compares them with other tests carried out in the United States and tests that have been carried out on other types of diffusers. The paper will discuss the results of the oxygen transfer tests and present capital and net present costs (NPC) for various diffuser installations. © 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 CIWEM.

Booth J.N.,Yorkshire Water | Deuchar J.L.,Yorkshire Water | Hughes A.K.,Atkins
Dams: Engineering in a Social and Environmental Context - Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the British Dam Society | Year: 2012

This paper will illustrate by example a number of cases where the problem of insufficient spillway capacity has been dealt with in ways other than just increasing the size of spillway channels. It will also illustrate the benefits of physical modelling and a number of problems associated with the environment and planning restrictions.

Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 79.86K | Year: 2013

The problem: The use of engineered nanoparticles (NP) in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, sensors and many other commercial applications has been growing exponentially over the past decade. Because of their increasing application many NP are discharged to the watercourse both by industrial companies and through domestic use. The technology for monitoring the environmental impact of these materials, particularly in aquatic systems, is not well developed. It is not only sufficient to be able to determine the NP in water but also it is crucial to have some understanding of their toxicity or biological activity. At the same time, a high throughput screener is urgently required to report on the biomembrane activity (ability to bind to/adsorb on/penetrate biological membranes) of different NP and/or products containing NP dispersed in water. A screening system for NP is therefore required which reports routinely on the level of biologically active NP in raw, waste and drinking waters. At the same time the presence of heavy metal ions in water is always a concern due to their implicit toxicity. These heavy metal ions can be derived from industrial and/or domestic use and in spite of the tremendous advances in the analysis of heavy metal ions in water in the past 50 years, there is currently no routine heavy metal ion screener available for natural and potable waters. A combined NP and heavy metal ion screener therefore would have immediate application in any organisation concerned about the quality of water which comes into contact with human activity. Addressing the problem: The proposed technology offers a device which has a dual capability as follows: (1) To screen waters for NP which are biomembrane active and hence are putatively toxic and, (2) To detect toxic heavy metal ions (Cu2+, Pb2+, Cd2+ and Zn2+) in water. The system can also be used to test samples of NP or products containing NP dispersed in water for biomembrane activity. The screening for NP in water is rapid, on-line and high throughput and takes 10 minutes to test each sample. Similarly heavy metal ions in the water can be measured together simultaneously and quantitatively. The NP screener works by looking at the interaction of NP with a phospholipid layer coated on a chip based Pt/Hg microelectrode in a flow cell. This is a development of a previous technology which uses the same device to screen waters for biomembrane active compounds. The heavy metal ions are determined using anodic stripping voltammetry which is a well established analytical technique. The development of the chip-based Pt/Hg electrode in flow cell with flow injection techniques enables both techniques to be used in a high throughput configuration. The switchover from one technique to the other can be readily software controlled. Benefits which end-users will derive by adopting it: (1) Screening waters for the presence of biomembrane active NP (2) Screening products containing NP dispersed in water for biomembrane activity (3) Screening commercially produced NP dispersed in water for biomembrane activity (4) Detecting, identifying and quantitatively measuring toxic heavy metal ions in water

Clarke S.J.,Natural England | Harlow J.,Natural England | Scott A.,Yorkshire Water | Phillips M.,Lateral SV
Ecosystem Services | Year: 2015

The application of ecosystem services to management requires simple approaches that can be applied with minimal data. We present a practical example of a low input approach for a small upland catchment. Two land management scenarios were developed in consultation with a group of partners with interest in management of the catchment. Currently, many habitats in the catchment are in poor ecological condition limiting the provision of some ecosystem services. The two scenarios were 'improve' (investments are made to deliver a balance of ecosystem services through habitat restoration and less intensive land management) and 'decline' (future ecological decline due to a general withdrawal of public investment in land management and applying only the minimum environmental regulations). The ecosystem service (dis-)benefits of each scenario were quantified and valued using two different value transfer approaches. The ecosystem services assessed were carbon storage, biodiversity (or wildlife value) and water quality. Both valuation approaches showed positive benefit-cost ratios for the 'improve' scenario and negative ratios for the 'decline' scenario. Even with this limited suite of ecosystem services the analysis provides a convincing case for investment in the catchment. The sensitivity of the analysis to assumptions made through the valuation is explored and improvements suggested. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

The use of internal consultants brings organisations significantly more value than relying on external consultants as they understand the business, raise its capability and have a vested interest in delivering sustainable results. The paper looks at an approach taken in setting up an internal consultancy, how it was implemented and how its performance was reviewed. It takes learnings from other professions such as marketing and risk management to deliver asset management knowledge and solutions to internal customers (operational team). Models used were Ishikawa to identify the needs of the business, Business Canvas to understand what the value propositions are and how they are delivered, SERVQUAL to ensure internal customer expectations are satisfied and a cultural web approach to measure the value of the service delivered.

Fabrizi L.,Cranfield University | Jefferson B.,Cranfield University | Parsons S.A.,Cranfield University | Wetherill A.,Yorkshire Water | Jarvis P.,Cranfield University
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2010

Dosing polymer to improve floc characteristics is a widely practiced method in water treatment to improve floc strength, and there is strong operational evidence showing the benefit of polymer dosing. However, there is a paucity of information on how polymer operates in terms of quantifying the resulting floc size and strength over different size scales. A dual particle sizing approach was used to monitor large floc that contain most of the sludge volume and small floc that can cause downstream treatability problems for systems with and without polymer dosing. The polymer investigated was a slightly anionic polyacrylamide dosed in water collected post dissolved air flotation at concentrations of 0 - 0.03 mg L-1. With increasing polymer dose, median floc size increased from 228 to 325 μm. Floc responses to increased shear rate showed that polymer dosing increased resistance to floc break-up. While all of the f Iocs showed high potential to regrow, regrowth was greatest in polymer-dosed systems, where flocs exceeded the size that they had reached previously. Increasing the dose of polymer showed increased removal of small particles (<8 μm) showing that polymer was able to effectively remove particles that are liable to cause downstream problems. © 2010 American Chemical Society.

Tanner A.,Cranfield University | McIntosh B.S.,Cranfield University | Seth A.,Yorkshire Water | Widdowson D.,Yorkshire Water
Modelling for Environment's Sake: Proceedings of the 5th Biennial Conference of the International Environmental Modelling and Software Society, iEMSs 2010 | Year: 2010

Computer-based decision and information support tools (DISTs) have potentially important roles to play in the embedding of sustainability appraisal processes into the planning and operation of water utilities. This paper reports on preliminary outcomes from research employing a particular model of sustainability, the Five Capitals model, to identify and facilitate the exploitation of opportunities for improved incorporation of sustainability appraisal into business process and practice within a major UK water and sewerage company (WaSC). In particular, the aims of this paper are to characterise and critically assess WaSC decision and information support needs by interpreting the findings of having applied the Five Capitals model. Five Capitals sustainability principles were applied as a questioning framework in a series of focus groups within the asset delivery business unit of the WaSC. The approach enabled the researcher to create a shared comprehension of sustainability, whilst mapping the perspectives of the business unit as to the form and efficacy of current sustainability appraisal activities. From the results of the focus group the researcher was able to identify key information support needs and to develop a set of sustainability key performance indicators with WaSC staff to service these needs. The results of the focus groups demonstrated that there was no need for computerised decision support, and that the primary role for information support was twofold - (i) to capture data to provide a basis, in the medium-long term, for improved organisational learning about the sustainability performance of different treatment and distribution assets, and; (ii) to capture data to provide a basis, over the short-medium term, for influencing the decisions made by companies contracted to design and build new treatment and distribution assets for the WaSC. These needs contrast against the standard view of the role of decision support as automating certain aspects of human decision-making.

Warwick C.,Cranfield University | Guerreiro A.,Cranfield University | Wood E.,Yorkshire Water | Kitson J.,Yorkshire Water | And 2 more authors.
Water Science and Technology | Year: 2014

Phosphate detection in water samples is still completed using colorimetric standard methods, which have a number of disadvantages, to such as being time consuming, requiring filtration, a number of different reagents, frequent calibration and proper disposal of waste chemicals generated. Hence, a simple cost effective analytical method and instrumentation is highly desirable to aid the optimisation of treatment processes and assist the water industry in their efforts to comply with stringent regulations such as the EU's Water Framework Directive. A sensor based on molecular imprinted polymer (MIP) and a conductance transducer was developed for direct and label-free detection of phosphate in water. The sensor was able to measure the presence of phosphate in wastewater samples with good reproducibility, a linear range of 0.66-8 mg P L-1 and a lower detection limit of 0.16 mg P L-1. The sensor was further tested to measure phosphate concentrations in unfiltered field samples such as domestic wastewater treatment influent and river water and demonstrated a close correlation with reference measurements. The phosphate MIP sensor offers a way forward as either a handheld sensor for use in the field, or as a potential solution for remote, continuous monitoring of phosphate. © IWA Publishing 2014.

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