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Current Projects

Take a look at our current projects by clicking on the title below to find out more information:

Application of innovative statistical models to automate process control tools that manage water pipeline infrastructure.

The aqua3S project aims to create strategies and methods that will enable water facilities to easily integrate solutions regarding water safety, through a combination of novel technologies in water safety and the standardisation of existing sensor technologies.

Exposure of citizens to potential disasters has led to vulnerable societies that require risk reduction measures. Drinking water is one of the main risk sources when its safety and security are not ensured.

aqua3S combines novel technologies in water safety and security, aiming to standardize existing sensor technologies complemented by state-of-the-art detection mechanisms. aqua3S can propose innovative solutions to water facilities and responsible authorities in order to detect and tackle water-related crises in a timely manner.

On the one hand, sensor networks are deployed in water supply networks and sources, supported by complex sensors for enhanced detection; on the other hand, sensor measurements are supported by videos from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), satellite images and social media observations from citizens that report low-quality water in their area (e.g. by colorization); introducing this way a bottom-up approach which raises social awareness and, also, promotes interactive knowledge sharing.

The proposed technical solution is designed to offer a very effective detection system, taking into account the cost of the aqua3S platform and target at a very high return-on-investment ratio.

The main strategy for the integration of aqua3S’ solution into the market is designed on the standardization of the proposed technologies and the project’s secure platform.

Visit the aqua3s website for further information.

The aim of this Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is to develop and embed a toolset utilising Bayesian Optimisation and CFD techniques in order to enable optimisation of product function and manufacturability, and accelerate the product development process.

This is the latest part of a long term collaboration between the University of Exeter (Prof Gavin Tabor, Prof Jonathan Fieldsend) and Hydro International Ltd, developing Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Machine Learning techniques for SUDs product design. Hydro International provides products and services in the water treatment and drainage sectors including wastewater, stormwater and industrial water treatment products, and flow controls for urban drainage systems. The objective of the project is to use Bayesian Optimisation to optimise the separation of particulate waste from water using a cyclone separator very similar in function to a Dyson vacuum cleaner, but for water rather than air. The aim is for the computer to "learn" better designs for the separator trays which are at the heart of the system, providing key new IP for the company as well as a design tool which can be applied to other products in their range.

Development of a novel standalone solar-driven agriculture greenhouse desalination that grows its energy and irrigation water.

The aim of this fellowship is to develop novel technologies to facilitate the delivery of smart and resilient water systems.

The aim is to develop analytical tools to analyse big data from smart sensors at household and system levels, so as to identify vulnerabilities and inform infrastructure planning, design, operation and management decisions and thus improve resilience.

The aim of this project is to develop a digital twin for water pipe systems to predict performance of the pipe network.

ENRICH will bring together expertise and experience from UK and Thailand in the areas of climate variability and climate change, floods and drought modelling and water resources management.

The Mun river basin in Northeast Thailand is a prime example of the area impacted by hydro-meteorological hazards. Its specific vulnerability lies in the fact that its upstream parts are more prone to droughts, whereby the downstream part of the basin is a flood risk zone. About 80 to 90% of rice cultivation area in the Mun river basin is rain-fed. Rainfall in the study area is highly erratic both in space and time even though the annual average amount is near to the norm of Thailand. This unevenness has serious effects on rice production, living conditions and income of farmers who are the main population in the region.

The ultimate aim of this project is to establish a strong collaboration and exchange of knowledge between the University of Exeter and AIT, to develop innovative integrated solutions to address the pressing problem of hydro-meteorological extremes and adaptation strategies and measures in the Mun river basin.

The proposed project will address the following research questions:

  • What are the main environmental drivers affecting the meteorological and climate variability and change in Northeast of Thailand?
  • What are possible hydro-meteorological scenarios and extremes in future in the study area? What is the level of confidence that the projected changes can be attributed to environmental and climate changes?
  • What are the expected changes in hydro-meteorological hazards and risks due to future climatic extremes?
  • What are the possible and plausible adaptation strategies and measures to improve climate resilience in the study basin?
  • In line with the recent policy and planning of the Royal Irrigation Department and Department of Water Resources of Thailand, this study will investigate drought hazard due to future climate change, and its impacts on vulnerability and risk in the study area. Furthermore, analysis on current adaptive measures and recommendation for further improvement to cope with future climate change will be produced.

The proposed two and a half year research programme will be realized through four integrated Work Packages (WPs):

  • WP1: Land use changes
  • WP2: Climate variability and climate change
  • WP3: Hydrometeorological extremes
  • WP4: Adaptation strategies based on the synthesis of results
  • The ENRICH team will work closely with the Thai Department of Water Resources and the Royal Irrigation Department, from the project inception workshop, through data acquisition and analysis and finally during the dissemination phase, so that the outputs can be taken up.

Two public participation meetings will be organised in the study area with local stakeholders - farmers, industries, local line agencies at provincial/district levels etc. - to understand the hydro-meteorological hazards related issues (at the start of the project), and discuss adaptation measures (towards the end of the project while developing the adaptation strategies and measures) with them.

Whilst ENRICH is a stand-alone initiative that can be completed independently, from an early stage it will seek cooperation with other projects funded within this programme to identify the potential for synergies through sharing data and expertise.

This three-year FAME project is designed to investigate emerging contaminants in the major Indian rivers and wastewater treatment works, as well as creating novel and affordable treatment solutions for urban and rural India. The project has been devised to support the Indian Prime Minister’s flagship initiative – The Clean Ganga Mission.

Led by Professor Fayyaz Memon, the FAME team includes key academics Professors David Butler and Shaowei Zhang from the University of Exeter, Dr Sarah Bell from UCL, Professor Ligy Philip (IIT-Madras) and Prof Absar Kazmi and Dr Bhanu Prakash Vellanki (IIT Roorkee). The industry steering board for the project is chaired by Dr Hans Jensen – CEO UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR).

The project has 15 industrial partners including the Environment Agency, Southwest Water, Public Health England, Indian Central Pollution Control Board and wastewater treatment systems manufacturers based in the two countries.

Find out more on the dedicated website.

FIWARE is a smart solution platform, funded by the European Commission (2011-16) as a major flagship PPP, to support SMEs and developers in creating the next generation of internet services, as the main ecosystem for Smart City initiatives for cross-domain data exchange/cooperation and for the NGI initiative. So far little progress has been made on developing specific water-related applications using FIWARE, due to fragmentation of the water sector, restrained by licensed platforms and lagging behind other sectors (e.g. telecommunications) regarding interoperability, standardisation, cross-domain cooperation and data exchange.

Fiware4Water intends to link the water sector to FIWARE by demonstrating its capabilities and the potential of its interoperable and standardised interfaces for both water sector end-users (cities, water utilities, water authorities, citizens and consumers), and solution providers (private utilities, SMEs, developers). Specifically we will demonstrate it is non-intrusive and integrates well with legacy systems. In addition to building modular applications using FIWARE and open API architecture for the real time management of water systems, Fiware4Water also builds upon distributed intelligence and low level analytics (smart meters, advanced water quality sensors) to increase the economic (improved performance) and societal (interaction with the users, con-consensus) efficiency of water systems and social acceptability of digital water, by adopting a 2-Tier approach:

  • Building and demonstrating four Demo Cases as complementary and exemplary paradigms across the water value chain (Tier#1);
  • Promoting an EU and global network of followers, for digital water and FIWARE (cities, municipalities, water authorities, citizens, SMEs, developers) with three complementary Demo Networks (Tier#2).

The scope is to create the Fiware4Water ecosystem, demonstrating its technical, social and business innovative potential at a global level, boosting innovation for water.

Why Fiware4Water?

The prerequisite of Fiware4Water is to lever the barriers of the water digital sector that is facing a low level of maturity in the integration and standardization of ICT solutions, in the business processes of these solutions and relative implementation of legislative framework, as described by the ICT4Water cluster.

The related needs are how to exploit the value of data for the water sector, how to develop and test robust and cyber-secured systems, how to create water-smart solutions and applications how to ensure interoperability and higher information capacity and how to design tailored solutions addressing a real need such as optimisation, prediction, diagnosis, real-time monitoring.

For further information, please visit the Fiware4Water website.

GeoRes will develop protocols to improve the engineering characteristics of waste geomaterials, and to guarantee the level of performance over the service life of geostructures built from waste geomaterials considering site-specific conditions (climate, water table, leaching, weathering, hazardous compounds, etc.).

GeoRes aims to expand the scope of the involved teams’ research in addressing some of the outstanding challenges in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering: developing innovative solutions for the reuse of waste geomaterials generated by construction and mining industries across Europe and worldwide.

Find out more on the dedicated GeoRes webpage.

To develop and embed a toolset utilising Bayesian Optimisation and CFD techniques in order to enable optimisation of product function and manufacturability, and accelerate the product development process.

This is the latest part of a long term collaboration between the University of Exeter (Prof Gavin Tabor, Prof Jonathan Fieldsend) and Hydro International Ltd, developing Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Machine Learning techniques for SUDs product design. Hydro International provides products and services in the water treatment and drainage sectors including wastewater, storm water and industrial water treatment products, and flow controls for urban drainage systems. The objective of the project is to use Bayesian Optimisation to optimise the separation of particulate waste from water using a cyclone separator very similar in function to a Dyson vacuum cleaner, but for water rather than air. The aim is for the computer to "learn" better designs for the separator trays which are at the heart of the system, providing key new IP for the company as well as a design tool which can be applied to other products in their range.

Objectives

With focus on co-development between EU and India ensuring exploitability of its outcomes, LOTUS brings a new ICT solution for India’s water and sanitation challenges in both rural and urban areas.

High-level objectives:

  1. To co-design and co-produce, jointly with EU and Indian partners, an innovative multi-parameters chemical sensor as an advanced solution for water quality monitoring in India. It shall use advanced technologies (carbon nanotubes) capable of monitoring in real time multiple contaminants and adaptable to diversified use cases in India;
  2. To develop a suite of tailor-made software tools, combined into a platform with cloud-based implementation. By integrating LOTUS new sensors to advanced ICT technologies, it shall improve water management according to the specific requirements of LOTUS Use Cases, representative of water challenges in India;
  3. To demonstrate and showcase the LOTUS sensor and software solution in a wide variety of Indian use cases across the whole value chain of water (urban and rural areas, drinking and irrigation water quality, river and groundwater monitoring, treated wastewater quality). Across use cases, the common goal is to improve on water availability and quality by improving on existing infrastructures, thus answering a wide range of socio-economic and technical water challenges in India;
  4. To investigate, co-design and plan the business model and market uptake of the LOTUS solution, with industrial production and further development and production of the sensor in India, ensuring an advanced but affordable, low cost product and solution for monitoring water quality, after the end of the project;
  5. To promote social innovation, by introducing co-creation, co-design and co-development with Universities, Research Centres, SMEs, NGOs, Utilities and local stakeholders, bringing together social sciences and technology experts, as a paradigm of successful EU-India Cooperation in the water sector, with lasting social, technological and business impacts for water quality in India, leading to viable, affordable and (socially) acceptable products and solutions, capacity development, job creation, contribution to wider issues and initiatives and wide outreach activities.

Visit the LOTUS website for further information. 

NextGen evaluates and champions transformational circular economy solutions and systems around resource use in the water sector.

NextGen aims to boost sustainability and bring new market dynamics throughout the water cycle at the 10 demo cases and beyond. Three key areas of action are foreseen.

The project will asses, design and demonstrate a wide range of water-embedded resources, including:

Water

Itself with reuse at multiple scales supported by nature-based storage, optimal management strategies, advanced treatment technologies, engineered ecosystems and compact/mobile/scalable systems.

Energy

Combined water-energy management, treatment plants as energy factories, water-enabled heat transfer, storage and recovery for allied industries and commercial sectors.

Materials

Such as nutrient mining and reuse, manufacturing new products from waste streams, regenerating and repurposing membranes to reduce water reuse costs, and producing activated carbon from sludge to minimise costs of micro-pollutant removal.

An integral part of deploying NextGen solutions will be to define and cultivate the framework conditions for success:

  • Involving and engaging citizens and other stakeholders - to give feedback on technology development, increase collective learning and shape solutions and behavioural change using communities of practice and living labs. Serious gaming and augmented reality will be immersive tools to explore the circular economy and behaviour change.
  • Addressing social and governance challenges - to ensure long-term adoption and support for circular economy solutions. This includes social acceptability testing, policy and regulation support and development of a European Roadmap for Water in Circular Economy.

Last but not least, NextGen will explore new business models and support market creation with three key initiatives:

  • A thorough analysis, profiling and sharing of business models and services for water solutions in the circular economy;
  • An online marketplace allowing users to explore NextGen showcases and demo case technologies;
  • Business and marketing support to exploit the extensive new opportunities revealed by adopting a circular economy approach.

For further information, please visit the NexTGen website.

The OVERCOME consortium consists of world-leading organisations that aim to develop a state-of-the-art research plan which integrates digital innovations in natural hazard and risk predictions, in order to develop intervention strategies for strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities against climate hazards and health impacts.

The partners from the UK, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe will contribute knowledge and skills in climate and meteorology, hydrology and water resources, flood forecasting, droughts, water quality, epidemiology and public health, smart technologies, data science, environmental science, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), risk communication, disaster management, social and policy sciences, and socio-economics.

The collaboration will combine multidisciplinary knowledge to develop a novel holistic framework to forecast the impact of floods/droughts and associated disease outbreaks. OVERCOME also has strong support from global experts and local major stakeholders. The external partners will steer research direction throughout the project, contribute their complementary knowledge, and engage the team with additional partners through their strong international networking.

This fellowship investigates how to develop smart water infrastructure systems using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and big data already available in the water industry in response to a changing environment including extreme weather.

There is a critical need to develop new advanced data and visual analytics to unlock the value of large-scale water utility databases for informed real time decision making on a wide variety of different problems including leakage, flooding, water pollution and energy efficiency. This fellowship offers exactly such an opportunity, through close collaboration with Northumbrian Water Ltd, to turn piecemeal techniques into integrated solutions for industry problems, thus is timely for major impact on large investments in water infrastructure in the next 50 years.

This fellowship aims to develop the next generation advanced analytics and tools that enable real time decision making for management and operation of smart water infrastructure systems. This fellowship will promote wider deployment of sensing and measurement technologies and informed, real time decision-making. It will improve operational automation and efficiency under standard design conditions and operational resilience under extreme conditions. This fellowship is particularly important to provide a step change towards a smart water system where the sensors and controllers are linked together for fully automated decision making in response to dynamic environments.

RECONECT is developing a holistic ecosystem-based framework enabling cross-sectoral/transdisciplinary analyses and evaluation to advance the knowledge of NBS in the context of hydro-meteorological risk reduction focusing on floods, storm surges, landslides and droughts.

RECONECT aims to rapidly enhance the European reference framework on Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) for hydro-meteorological risk reduction by demonstrating, referencing, upscaling and exploiting large-scale NBS in rural and natural areas.

In an era of Europe’s natural capital being under increased cumulative pressure, RECONECT will stimulate a new culture of co-creation of ‘land use planning’ that links the reduction of hydro-meteorological risk with local and regional development objectives in a sustainable and financially viable way.

To do that, RECONECT draws upon a network of carefully selected Demonstrators and Collaborators that cover a wide and diverse range of local conditions, geographic characteristics, institutional/governance structures and social/cultural settings to successfully upscale NBS throughout Europe and Internationally.

To achieve these ambitious goals, the RECONECT consortium brings together an unprecedented transdisciplinary partnership of researchers, industrial partners (SMEs and large consultancies) and authorities/agencies at local and watershed/regional level fully dedicated to achieve the desired outcomes of the project.

For further information, please visit the RECONECT website.

The South West Partnership for Environmental and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP) is a collaborative initiative that will help deliver economic and community benefits to the South West, whilst also protecting and enhancing the area’s natural resources.

Funded by Natural Environment Research Council’s Regional Impact from Science of the Environment programme for 5 years, SWEEP will bring academic experts, businesses and policy makers together to solve some of the challenges involved in managing, utilising and improving the natural environment.

SWEEP is a collaboration of three research institutions: the University of Exeter, the University of Plymouth and Plymouth Marine Laboratory – working together with a large group of highly engaged business, policy and community partners.

SWEEP 006 connects academics and industry to evaluate and implement the potential of regional scale sustainable drainage in South West England.

The South West Partnership for Environmental and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP) is a collaborative initiative that will help deliver economic and community benefits to the South West, whilst also protecting and enhancing the area’s natural resources.

SWEEP 006 (Sustainable Drainage) is a sub-award of the main SWEEP partnership. The objective of this sub-award is to connect academia and industry to evaluate and implement sustainable drainage at a regional scale in South West England.

The project achieves this aim through establishing academic-industry networks, delivering training, developing tools and supporting ongoing sustainable drainage projects with partners across the region.

Find out more on the dedicated website.

The TWENTY65 research programme focuses on interdisciplinary teams working across the water cycle to develop flexible and synergistic solutions tailored to meet changing societal needs and achieve positive impact on health, environment, economy and society.

Can we close the urban water cycle by integrating stormwater management with water supply management? Focusing on integrated urban water management from a household, to the street through to the catchment level, can incorporating dual function rainwater harvesting and sustainable drainage systems offer a key solution?

For more information, visit the 'Twenty65' dedicated website.

 

ULTIMATE aims to create economic value and increase sustainability by valorising resources within the water cycle.

ULTIMATE will act as a catalyst for “Water Smart Industrial Symbiosis” (WSIS) in which water/wastewater plays a key role both as a reusable resource but also as a vector for energy and materials to be extracted, treated, stored and reused within a dynamic socio-economic and business oriented industrial ecosystem. We adopt an evidence-based approach anchored on 9 large-scale demonstrations across Europe and SE Mediterranean relevant to the agro-food processing, beverages, heavy chemical/petrochemical and biotech industries.

We recover, refine and reuse wastewater (industrial and municipal) but also extract and exploit energy (combined water-energy management, treatment processes as energy producers, water-enabled heat transfer, storage and recovery) and materials (nutrient mining and reuse, extraction and reuse of high-added-value exploitable compounds) contained in industrial wastewater. We support the cases and ensure their replicability through smart tools to optimize and control, assess costs and benefits, minimize risks and help stakeholders identify, assess and explore alternative symbiotic pathways linked to emerging business opportunities, supported by tailored contracts and investment schemes.

ULTIMATE nurtures partnerships between business (incl. industrial and technological ecosystems), water service providers, regulators and policy makers and actively supports them through immersive Mixed Reality storytelling using technology and art to co-produce shared visions for a more circular, profitable, socially responsible and environmentally friendly industry, with water at its centre. The project mobilises a strong partnership of industrial complexes and symbiosis clusters, leading water companies and water service providers, specialised SMEs, research institutes and water-industry collaboration networks, and builds on an impressive portfolio of past and ongoing research and innovation, leveraging multiple European and global networks to ensure real impact.

For further information, please visit the ULTIMATE website.

Stormwater is frequently considered a hazard leading to a focus on extreme events at one end of the hydrological spectrum which can cause catastrophic flooding, property damage and potentially loss of life. As we enter a more uncertain climate the need to retain and utilise stormwater as a vital water resource comes more sharply into focus. WP2 (led by the Exeter team) examines these options and how they interact with the urban system both in the short and long term, and the benefits that can be secured both directly and indirectly.

For more information, visit the Urban Flood Resillience website.