Technology & Innovation

Develops innovative technologies for preventing pollution, stimulating microbial remediation of contaminated sites, and microbial transformation of green waste to high value products and energy. Interdisciplinary research connects technological innovation and society by examining the governance of emerging technologies and the management of environmental and technological risks.

Some current projects

University of Bahrain sustainable water partnership

Partnership to support the development of a sustainable water resources centre at the University of Bahrain. The collaboration seeks to develop solutions to produce cost-effectively and sustainable drinking water. The first phase will investigate ways to reduce the energy consumption associated with the pre-treatment of sea water, which is a necessary but energy-hungry first stage in desalination.

Water purification with IIT Kharagpur

This collaboration with researchers at IIT Kharagpur, India, explores arsenic removal from water using a soil-based filter. Arsenic contamination of drinking water is a major public health issue in West Bengal and Bangladesh with the WHO describing the Bangladesh situation as the ‘the largest poisoning of a population in history’. This research seeks to address this by exploring how best use laterite soil to maximize the rate at which clean water can be produced, and maximize the lifetime of the filter. The team use a combination of mathematical modelling, asymptotic analysis, and computational fluid dynamics in Oxford, with experiments conducted on samples and real water by IIT Kharagpur.

Biofilm induced degradation of endocrine disruptors on the micro scale

Endocrine disruptors, including human oestrogens, have been identified amongst a growing list of priority micro-contaminants in water bodies and drinking water supplies. The project focuses on the removal of micro-contaminants (with a particular focus on estrogens) through the use of biofilms. Once the biofilm characteristics (shape and size) have been identified, test compounds will be introduced and data on their degradation will be obtained. A finite element model of the device will be developed in parallel.

Development of a hybrid technology for treating recalcitrant water contaminants

This Science & Technology Facilities Council-funded project is developing a hybrid technology to treat water contaminants using electron beams used in the development of particle accelerator technology.

Microbial Solutions

Industry uses large quantities of metal working fluids (MWF) to cool and lubricate parts during metal working operations, requiring costly high energy demand treatment to remove pollution loads before release into sewers. Microcycle™ technology, a spinout that came from a collaboration between NERC and the University of Oxford, is a powerful biological degradation process that reduces waste MWFs to acceptable pollutant concentrations and allows for its safe on-site disposal.

Reduction of algal loading onto water treatment works

Thames Water have identified peaks in chemical demand associated with algal blooms as a current cause of seasonal increases in the costs of potable water treatment. A goal has been set to minimise the impact of algal blooms and thus reduce treatment costs by installing a combined physical and biological barrier, consisting of a combination of submerged booms and floating reed beds. The project investigates and evaluates how well the installation meets its goals over a three year period via an intensive field- and lab-based protocol.


  • Professor Chris Ballentine
  • Dr Feyera Hipra
  • Achut Manandhar
  • Armin Krupp
  • Heloise Greeff
  • Dr Yizhi Song
  • Dr Samuel Chen
  • Farah Colchester
  • Dr David Clifton
  • Dr Sam Henry
  • Dr Manus Henry
  • Dr Sophie Haines
  • Dr Ian Griffiths
  • Dr Jocelyne Hughes
  • Professor J.S. Foord
  • Professor Richard Compton
  • Patrick Thomson
  • Prof Robert Hope
  • Dr David Johnstone
  • Professor Zhanfeng Cui
  • Professor Robert Field
  • Dr Rene Bañares-Alcántara
  • Professor Ian Thompson
  • Professor Richard Darton
  • Dr Gari Clifford
  • Professor Steve Rayner
  • Dr Nick Hankins