Research at the interface of ecology and engineering

We rely heavily on our environment for resources such as fresh water, energy and food etc. This dependence is increasing as the human population grows rapidly. However, some of the major advances in technology and engineering that have enabled and sustained this population growth have inadvertently caused widespread environmental damage. One particular example is the growth of agriculture to feed the growing population, particularly in expanding urban conurbations. It has resulted in polluted lakes and rivers, reflected in large-scale algal blooms representing a process caused eutrophication. Eutrophication is bad for many reasons – the water quality is poor, smells bad and natural ecosystem structure and function is destroyed. But there may be a hidden opportunity – algae is a potential source of biofuel, fertiliser, biomass and animal feed.

Catalyst Aims:

  • Collate existing data on eutrophic systems
  • Select sites for pilot-scale algal harvesting
  • Develop partnerships by adding specific cross-disciplinary expertise

Funding goals:

  • Pilot scale investigations of a low energy algal harvesting device for the restoration of eutrophic waters
  • Determine the social, economic and ecological implications
  • Implement resource recovery from algae

Please contact RENEW for collaboration and discussion.

Research Development Manager: Dr A. Ferguson - University of Sheffield, Chemical & Biological Engineering
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Principal Investigator:

Dr J. Pandhal – University of Sheffield, Chemical & Biological Engineering

The RENEW Team

Dr A. Ferguson Research Development Manager, Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Sheffield
Dr Laurence Cavalho NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Professor Kevin Flynn Head of the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) at Swansea University
Professor David Olglethorpe Chair in Environmental Sustainability at the University of Sheffield
Professor Will Zimmerman Inventor of fluidic oscillation for icrobubble generation
Dr Robert Lovitt Reader in Biochemical Engineering at Swansea University
Dr Chris Jones Environment and Research Behaviour Group (EBRG) at the University of Sheffield
Professor Stephen Maberly Head of the Lake Ecosystems Group (CEH)
Dr Tom Pottinger Fish ecophysiologist (CEH)
Dr Bryan Spears Phosphorus control in Freshwater Ecology Group (CEH)
Dr Aditee Mitra Interactions of food quality and quantity on consumer dynamics and trophic dynamics at Swansea University
Dr James Hanotu Microflotation of algae at the University of Sheffield

Telephone: +44 (0)114
NERC ref: NE/K015591/1

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Catalyst Grant Progress