Engineering Group is internationally known for its research. Some key topics
Low head hydropower:
converters are under development which can use head differences below 2.5 m as a
source of renewable energy. Unlike conventional turbine technology, these
systems can be used in a cost effective and ecologically acceptable way. Two
prototypes built and monitored in the EU FP7-funded project Hylow have shown
efficiencies from 75-85%. Tests show that the converters can be used
successfully in conjunction with fish and sediment passages. Work to expand the
area of application and to improve the technology is continuing.
Environmental Fluid Mechanics:
Research areas include the interaction between Turbulent Boundary Layers with
groups of fixed or moving bodies (e.g. wind farms or fish schools); prediction
of local scour around bridge piers and off-shore structures; aerodynamic design
of novel rain gauges; dispersion of methane emissions from landfills; flow
resistance and sediment transport in geophysical flows; wall-turbulence and
Lattice-Boltzmann simulations of laminar flows.
Hydrology and water resources:
research on surface zone infiltration into engineered clay slopes has shown that
climate change will lead to increased risk of instability. Aquifer recharge
modelling shows that water tables may fall between 1-2 m by the end of the
century in the UK. Coastal flood risk is being evaluated for new nuclear power
stations in the UK, and for Bangladesh as part of the NERC/DFID 'Ecosystems for
Poverty Alleviation' programme. The first Windows version of CROPWAT was written
in Southampton for the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation. This software is
being used worldwide for regional water resources evaluation.
Wastewater treatment: Current research includes anaerobic treatment of wastewater at ambient
temperatures, using a variety of technologies from expanded beds to membrane
systems; advanced wastewater treatment using aerobic granular systems up to
demonstration scale; design and optimisation of waste stabilisation ponds to
maximise wastewater reuse; and new methods for removal of trace pollutants using
bio-sorbents and nano-adorbers.
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