Nature's Raincoats is a physical exhibition and a website providing
easily accessible information and resources. These entities have had
extensive use within the public understanding of superhydrophobic surfaces
(extremely repellent to water), including The Royal Society Summer Science
Exhibition, Cheltenham Science Festival, The Big Bang Fair, British
Science Festival and Techfest (India) — reaching thousands of people in
the UK and overseas. As well as impacting on improved public awareness,
the research informed website provides a direct route to research
expertise for companies within the UK and internationally and extends good
practice of working with industry e.g. Rolls Royce.
New characterisation tools for natural organic matter (NOM) in drinking
water are now used as standard practice within water companies such as
Severn Trent Water, United Utilities and Yorkshire Water. The tools inform
decisions, and help develop strategic plans on catchment management,
source selection, treatment optimisation, and disinfection practice. Water
companies experienced difficulties in treating high levels of NOM.
Cranfield created a novel characterisation toolkit to measure NOM for its
electrical charge and hydrophobicity. Also, new techniques for measuring
aggregate properties and emerging disinfection by-products have provided a
comprehensive analysis. Two novel treatment technologies are currently
marketed. These technologies have raised international interest, resulting
in industrial development in Australia.
By modelling the formation of micro-bubbles and the flows induced by
them, researchers at the University of Cambridge Department of Applied
Mathematics and Theoretical Physics developed a new, low-cost nozzle
design that could be retrofitted to existing Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF)
systems. This new design dramatically improved the performance of DAF
systems, used by the water industry for the production of drinking water.
Specifically, this research has enabled a substantial increase in
throughput and effectiveness of the flotation process, whilst
simultaneously providing a dramatic decrease in the energy requirement.
A ground-breaking range of innovative sensor products — the EPIC Sensors
— has been developed and marketed world-wide by Plessey Semiconductors
Ltd. The EPIC Sensors allow contact-free measurements of electric
phenomena, initially aimed at the health, sports and automotive markets.
They operate on the non-invasive, low-cost, generic, award-winning
Electric Potential Sensor (EPS) technology invented and developed at
Sussex as a spin-off from fundamental low-temperature physics research.
Income to the University from licence fees, costs and royalties started
during 2012. Sustained industry engagement with key strategic partners in
the medical, forensic, security, materials testing and geophysics sectors,
including government organisations, industry and academia, is leading to a
wider awareness and adoption of this novel technology.
Sensors and on-line monitoring systems have clear benefits for various
sectors including water utilities, food, health, safety and defense.
Current approaches include optical, acoustic, mechanical, electrical and
bio sensors, however they often suffer from low reliability, sensitivity
and accuracy, combined with infrequent measurements and high cost, all of
which hinders their industrial application. Hence, to meet the current
industrial demand the scientists at the Built Environment and Sustainable
Technologies (BEST) Research Institute have developed a new real-time
non-invasive sensor platform based on the use of electromagnetic waves.
These are being used extensively by United Utilities PLC, Mechan Controls
PLC, the UK Defence Science & Technology Laboratory and Animalia in
Ground breaking and unique research carried out at the Centre for Skin
Sciences at the University of Bradford has led to the realization of
commercial opportunities in two very high-value consumer brands.
Technologies developed in collaboration with multi-national personal-care
and cosmetic companies for the treatment of skin hyper-pigmentation have
been launched on the market and have reached thousands of consumers. The
first product launched by Alliance-Boots (April 2012) is sold within the
UK's premier skincare range (No. 7). Success in Britain led to its launch
in the US, Finland and Thailand. A second product within the Diorsnow
range has been launched by Parfum Dior — a branch of LVMH Moët Hennessy •
Louis Vuitton S.A.
Research, undertaken at the University of Sheffield since 2001, into the
discolouration of drinking water occurring within distribution systems has
had economic, policy and professional practice impacts on the water supply
sector since 2008. This has resulted in improved levels of service, has
safeguarded water quality delivered to the public and has delivered
substantial economic savings. For example, in one of the few cases where
monetary value is available, Wessex Water made 63% savings on two trunk
main schemes with an initial estimated cost in excess of £1M. The 4 and 7
km lengths of these trunk mains represent less than 1% of the trunk mains
being impacted by our research. Our research has resulted in a step change
in the concept and approach to the management of discolouration in water
University of Surrey has a strong legacy of research into membrane
separation and osmosis,
culminating the commercialisation of Surrey's spin-out company Modern
Water plc. Modern Water
plc. was floated on AIM (London Stock Exchange) in June 2007 raising £30m
cash with a market
value of £70m.
The research itself is having direct impact via the operating
desalination plants in Gibraltar and
Oman producing high quality drinking water typically using 30% less energy
desalination plants. In Oman, because of the poor quality of the feed
water the forward osmosis
process uses 42% less energy per litre of water produced when compared to
equipment. The two plants currently operating in Oman serve 600 people in
Al-Khuluf and 800
people in Naghdah.
This study analysed the shallow well drinking water quality of 17,000
rural Malawians. Water officials were advised interim precautions to take
regarding grossly contaminated wells. Inter alia, the `Water
Resources Investment Strategy', World Bank funded, captured this data to
help develop policy. A new MSc course was established to educate water
officials. Workshops/Fieldtrips integrated this research into the
undergraduate curriculum. An indigenous sustainable natural water
purification system was developed to reduce contaminates at source.
Initial data indicates that water quality can be improved by up to 80%.
This has the potential to improve the water quality for 1.5 million
Exeter Engineering's Centre for Water Systems (CWS) undertakes
internationally leading fundamental and applied research in the $500bn
global water sector. EPSRC-funded research has underpinned impacts with
both reach and significance in the areas of practitioner and
professional services and economic impact. CWS staff have
co-authored authoritative best practice guides with highly respected
practitioner publishers: the Construction Industry Research and
Information Association (CIRIA), the Building Research Establishment (BRE)
and Spon Press. These have been widely used in the water sector, and
construction and built environment sector. CWS software and knowhow have
been used extensively by water service providers (such as Scottish Water)
and their consultants (including SEAMS, originally an Exeter spinout) to
enhance business performance by identifying efficiencies, saving costs and
improving operation. Optimisation software has been made freely available
and has hundreds of users worldwide including consultants and financial