Luther Brown

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering

Research student
+44 114 222 5786

Full contact details

Luther Brown
Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
North Campus
Broad Lane
S3 7HQ
  • PhD in Earth Sciences and the Environment (mention of European Doctor, 15% success rate). Diffusion of Pollutants in Old Landfills Built over Clayey Substrata. Autonomous University of Madrid (Spain)
  • MS in Environmental Geology & Geological Resources, spec. in Hydrology & Soils. Long-term Evaluation of the Diffusion of Landfill Leachates through a Compacted Clay Barrier. Complutense University of Madrid (Spain)
  • Diploma of Advanced Studies (DEA): Proficiency as a researcher. A GIS on Optimal Location of Terrestrial Aquaculture on the NW Coast of Spain. Polytechnic University of Madrid (Spain)
  • BS in Environmental Sciences. Autonomous University of Madrid (Spain)

Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, Luther decided to finish his studies in the UK. He graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Ecology from Bangor University in 2016.

His undergraduate dissertation focused on the effects of a recent reintroduction of European beavers on carbon storage, extracellular enzyme activity, and nutrient concentrations in wetlands.

Following this, he then went on to study an MSc in Hydrogeology and Water Management at Newcastle University, graduating in 2018.

His MSc dissertation focused on the design of urban sustainable drainage systems integrated with slinky loop heat exchangers coupled to ground source heat pumps to provide year-round heating and cooling to nearby buildings in a new development.

Research interests

The goal of the Luther’s PhD project is to develop methodologies for the design of reliable, efficient and cost-effective pump and treat (PAT) remediation systems that leverage the effects of natural attenuation (NA). NA occurs at most contaminated sites, but its intensity depends on the types and concentration of contaminants, as well as the physical, chemical, and biological site characteristics. NA supports contaminant degradation by processes such as aerobic respiration, methanogenesis and fermentation. This research stems from the hypothesis that NA can be used to greatly enhance the planning of PAT strategies. This is however a challenge because of the uncertainty of site-specific conditions. Groundwater models which incorporate biodegradation processes will be created and used to maximize contaminant removal. Optimization algorithms will be combined with groundwater models to identify the most effective pumping strategies, as well as the most cost-effective outcomes. Supplementary in-situ treatment strategies to complement the PAT system will also be considered, such as the addition of permeable reactive barriers, oxygen release compounds, microbial fuel cells, air sparging, water injection (to facilitate mixing), and other interventions.

Aspects of uncertainty in the system behaviour will also be included in the overall design process. The outputs will be (i) a definition of PAT design objectives and constraints, with considerations on model and parameter uncertainty, overall cost, remediation time, contaminant removal, and risk to potential contaminant receptors, and (ii) application to the selected study site and comparison with current remediation strategy in relation to remediation cost, reliability, and effectiveness.