We host an active, multi-disciplinary research community. This page indicates research taking place within our Centre represented under researcher type giving links to profiles for further information. Our research takes place via our Environment and Sustainability PhD; grants awarded by the EPSRC and the ESRC and applied research via collaborations with industry.
Applied research projects
Our guiding vision for sustainable prosperity is one in which people everywhere have the capability to flourish as human beings within the ecological and resource constraints of a finite planet. Our work will explore not just the economic aspects of this challenge, but also its social, political and philosophical dimensions.
We address the implications of sustainable prosperity at the level of households and firms; and we will explore sector-level and macro-economic implications of different pathways to prosperity. We are paying particular attention to the pragmatic steps that need to be taken by enterprise, government and civil society in order to achieve a sustainable prosperity.
For more information please visit the CUSP site.
Project start date: 1 January 2016 Project end date: 31 December 2021
The objective of this project is to see if we can develop a viable, integrated, efficient and economic system combining bio-electrochemical and biological processes for sustainable liquid fuel production.
The projects results will be relevant to members of current NERC Resource recovery from waste consortium (RRfW), EPSRC SUPERGEN consortia and the CO2 chem network, as well as the European MFC Network and will be disseminated through interaction with these groups.
Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council..
- Dr Jhuma Sadhukhan, University of Surrey
- University of Newcastle
- University of South Wales
- University of Oxford
- University of Sheffield
- Tata Steel
- Northumbrian Water
- WH Partnership
Project start date: 1 December 2015 Project end date: 31 December 2019
The Environmental Biotechnology Network (EBNet) is one of 6 Phase II Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy funded primarily by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) with additional funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and builds on the successful Anaerobic Digestion Network, one of 13 Phase I NIBB.
Our community of academics and industry are dedicated to engineering microbial systems for environmental protection, bioremediation and resource recovery. These include, for example, microbes in anaerobic digestion, waste water treatment, those that bio-degrade plastics, oil or other emerging pollutants.
Microbial systems provide a range of environmental protection and bioremediation services, forming the basis for some of the world’s largest industries across the Water-Wastes-Soil nexus. Development of such systems to date has been largely empirical and incremental, but the pace is changing in response to the need to match expanding global demand with finite resources. There are also new challenges to address, ranging from the emergence of new micro-pollutants to the requirement for efficient closed-loop systems that combine treatment with resource recovery.
The current revolution in biological and analytical sciences is creating tools that give unprecedented insights into these systems from genetic to community level, and into factors that can potentially be used to control and harness them. At the same time, new approaches allow enhanced measurement and modelling of engineering phenomena such as mixing and mass transfer, while advances in materials science and separation technologies offer the potential for selectively retaining microbial biomass and/or removing final and intermediate metabolic products. These developments thus offer a chance to optimise existing treatment processes and to create more sustainable ‘future-proof’ technologies in new areas of application. Successful exploitation of these opportunities depends, however, on bringing together an enhanced knowledge of the underlying science with the ability to apply this in large-scale engineered systems, which must meet both societal expectations and increasingly stringent economic and environmental requirements.
The aim of EBNet is thus to develop and strengthen links between advanced molecular and applied microbiology, engineering and systems optimisation to maximise the societal impacts and benefits. Its overall goal is to take fundamental discovery science towards practical application in key areas of the human/environment interface.
List of recently completed projects, organised by each research theme.
- AIA: Ashford’s Integrated Alternatives
- Catalysing self-sustaining sanitation chains in informal settlements (3K-SAN)
- Flexnet: SUPERGEN Flexible Network Technologies
- Food Climate Research Network (FCRN)
- Polygeneration of Energy
- REDUCE: Reshaping Energy Demand of Users by Communication Technology and Economic Incentives
- ReVISIONS: Regional Visions of Integrated Sustainable Infrastructure Optimised for NeighbourhoodS
- Socio-economic adaptation to climate change in the Eastern Mediterranean
- Sustainable income standards: towards a greener minimum?
- SYMPACT: Tools for assessing the systemic impact of technology deployments on energy use and climate emissions
- TECHNEAU: Technology to enable universal access to safe water
- Transition pathways to a low carbon economy
- Building sustainable local nexuses of food, energy and water: from smart engineering to shared prosperity (The Local Nexus Network)
- CAYSEED: Community Action in Controlling Yam Diseases and Pests in West Africa through High Quality Seed & Improved Agronomic Practices
- Closed Loop Emotionally Valuable E-waste Recovery (CLEVER)
- Creative Outreach for Resource Efficiency (CORE)
- Designer Catalysts for High Efficiency Biodiesel Production
- Economic Value Generation and Social Welfare by Waste Biorefining
- Evolution and Resilience of Industrial Ecosystems programme (ERIE)
- Green Infrastructure Research Development for Stormwater and Air Quality
- LocalPURE: Engineering localised synergetic production networks based on renewable resources
- Realising Transition Pathways
- Resource Recovery from Wastewater with Bioelectrochemical Systems
- Yam Improvement for Income and Food security in West Africa (YIIFSWA)
Water energy food: Stepping up
Project start date: 1 October 2015
Project end date: 30 September 2018
The objective of this project was to understand what makes innovations have low-impact at the WEF nexus and, to find out if it was possible to reproduce the conditions for a low-impact WEF nexus at a larger scale, replicate them in other situations, or proliferate them more widely at a smaller scale.
To achieve our aims, we brought together a team with expertise across water, food and energy with physical science, engineering and social science backgrounds. This team built models of a few case studies that have achieved low-impact across the WEF nexus.
Funding was by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Principal investigator - Professor Alice Bows-Larkin, University of Manchester
- Dr Angela Druckman, University of Surrey
- Mr Darren Lumbroso, HR Wallingford
- Dr Liz Varga, Cranfield University
- Dr Ruth Falconer, University of Abertay
- Dr Dapeng Yu, University of Loughborough
- Prof Marian Scott, University of Glasgow
- Prof Catherine Mitchell, University of Exeter
Research staff - Dr James Suckling, University of Surrey.
- Assessment of the economic performance of genetically modified crops worldwide
- RESOLVE. Research Group on Lifestyles Values and Environment
- Sustainable Lifestyles Research Group (SLRG)
- Linking RESearch and POlicy making for managing the contradictions of sustaiNable consumption anD Economic gRowth. (RESPONDER) and Environment
- Passage: Prosperity and Sustainability in the Green Economy
- Welfare, Wealth and Work for Europe (WWWforEurope).
- (POINT) Current use of and emerging needs for indicators in policy. Policy influence of Indicators
- CReating Innovative Sustainability Pathways (CRISP)
- Servicizing Policy for Resource Efficient Economy (SPREE)
- UNderstanding LOcal and Community Governance of Energy (UNLOC)
- Agro-industries and Clean Energy in Africa (AGRICEN)