Our research interests cover a range of themes related to environmental management and wastewater treatment, with specific focus on areas of environmental technology, specialising in engineering application of biological, physical and chemical processes for the control and abatement of environmental pollutants, and in the production of bio-energy.
Our research focusses on:
- Identification, characterisation, manipulation and modelling of microbial interactions associated with the biodegradation of organic carbon and nitrogenous compounds, leading to the optimisation and/or development of pollution abatement technologies.
- Exploring the characteristics of the complex microbial community with the aims of developing new (and improving existing) engineered technologies for harnessing beneficial products from municipal and industrial waste materials e.g. organic fertiliser and bio-energy production organic residuals.
- Solving common environmental problems, primarily for reduction of adverse impacts i.e. treatment of sewage, municipal and industrial waste, water treatment.
Abertay University is one of 13 Scottish higher education institutions involved in the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) (ibioic.com), a £10m, 5 year project to support innovation in industrial biotechnology across Scotland.
Abertay is also a key member of the Scottish Biofuel Programme (www.biofuels-scotland.co.uk), a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Project with five academic partners including Scottish Agricultural College, Scottish Association of Marine Sciences, Napier University and Universities of Edinburgh and Abertay. This project enables Scottish businesses to access the full range of expertise and thus outcomes from the available biofuel solution toolkit to lower waste disposal costs and introduce new income streams through innovation.
Example research and knowledge transfer projects:
Some examples of the current and past research and knowledge transfer projects we have been involved in include:
- Validation of a filtering system for starch (KTP - Ivan Wood & Sons)
- Practical measures for reducing phosphorus and faecal microbial loads from onsite wastewater treatment system discharges to the environment (CREW)
- Study to support the evaluation of the use of phosphates in Consumer Automatic Dishwasher Detergents (CADD). Leading organisation: Bio Intelligent Service (www.biois.com), Paris, France (Director General Enterprise & Industry)
- Seaweed anaerobic digestion (UK Government/ITI Energy)
- Development of sustainable clean technologies for the management of organic residuals from the distillery industry (KTP - Diageo Plc)
- Assisting industries in the development of biogas projects in Scotland (SBP)
- Thermal hydrolysis for anaerobic digestion; Anaerobic digestion of pyrolysis oils and gas (in collaboration with UK Biochar Research Centre, Edinburgh)
- Evaluation of Water Treatment Technology for Small to Medium Sized Rural Community Use (CREW)
- Bespoke solution for wastewater treatment plants (Private client)
- Phosphate removal from wastewater by recycled gypsum treatment (Interface/First Option Services)
- Dundee Riverside Landfill decay modelling (Dundee City Council) (http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/dundee/riverside-nature-park-could-be-open-by-summer-1.40706)
- Investigating the hydrolytic effects of microbial enzymes in improving sludge and solid waste digestion (Scottish Government/SCORE Programme)
- Development of high solids municipal waste digestion system and investigation of the soil enhancing properties of the digestate in partnership with The James Hutton Institute (Dundee City Council)
- Development of Granular Bed Baffled Reactor (GRABBR), which is an innovative anaerobic wastewater treatment technology. Pilot trials funded by Tennent's Brewery, Glasgow
- Development of two 'package' wastewater treatment systems for low wastewater flows. Funded by Balmoral Group, Aberdeen. The systems have been marketed by the company since 1998. This project resulted in the creation of the BALMORAL PRIZE (1998-present) awarded yearly to the Best Graduating Student on the University's MSc Environment Programme.
Current PhD projects:
- Developing a framework for sustainable groundwater quality management in developing countries
- Biochemical analysis of wetland systems treating domestic wastewater
- Hospital wastewater treatment and management
- Development of low cost technologies for treatment of wastewater for reuse
- Groundwater quality assessment in rural communities in Saudi Arabia
- Bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated soils and surface waters by microbial formulation and locally available bacteria nutrient supplements
- Examination and management of human African trypanosomiasis propagation using geospatial techniques
- Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) and its impact on groundwater pollution in urban areas
- SuDS for Roads - transitioning into a more sustainable urban surface water management system for roads
- Water quality impacts of surface water discharges from urban areas
- Developing a diffuse pollution control strategy
- Analysis of the stress factors in the operation of water networks in arid countries