Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

Research Group: Water and Environmental Engineering Group

Currently Active: 

The Water and Environmental Engineering Group is a multidisciplinary team of academics, research staff and postgraduates. The principle that underpins our work is that of improving the world we live in through engineering solutions. We bring a variety of fundamental disciplines and skills to our work in the areas of water engineering, water and wastewater resource management, eco-hydraulics, and bioenergy and organic resource utilisation.

The Group has a wide range of activities across three broad areas:

Water Engineering

- Low head hydropower: New 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 cost effective and ecologically acceptable. 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.

Current work focuses on hydropower in irrigation canals, where the energy of the water is used to pump it onto fields higher than canal level, which cannot be irrigated at the moment, or to generate electricity.

Hydropower in irrigation channel

- Environmental fluid mechanics: Research areas include prediction of local scour around bridge piers and offshore structures; flow resistance and sediment transport in geophysical flows; transport and mixing of scalars in turbulent flows; mathematical modelling of open channel morphodynamics; and development of pioneering techniques in experimental fluid mechanics.

Environmental fluid mechanics:

- Computational hydraulics: work on the development of numerical models to simulate free-surface flows for urban and coastal flooding, the use and development of numerical models for the study of coastal hydro-morphodynamics, and the application of Machine Learning in computational hydraulics.

Computational hydraulics:

To find out more, please visit our Water Engineering website:

- We bridge the gap between disciplines and conduct innovative research to quantify the potential environmental impacts of water and energy infrastructure in aquatic habitats, focusing primarily on sustainable fisheries management. Our research provides the basic understanding needed to develop effective ecological mitigation and restore aquatic habitats.  

- We utilise hydraulics facilities within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences and larger-scale field studies to quantify the response of fish to hydrodynamic and other environmental stimuli (such as acoustics and light) created by anthropogenic structures and activities. Recent programmes of research have focused on improving the sustainability of hydropower, fish passage and screening at water off-takes (e.g. at power stations or abstraction points), river restoration and species reintroductions.

- Our research has been conducted in the UK, Europe, North and South America and Asia, and funded by the British Council, CEFAS, DEFRA, the Environment Agency, the EU (FP7 and H2020), the Global Challenges Research Fund, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the US Army Corps of Engineers and Native American Tribes, the Swedish hydropower sector, and the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources. 

picture of ecohydraulic weir

To find out more, please visit our International Centre for Ecohydraulics Research website:

Bioenergy and organic resources

- Wastewater treatment: current interests include advanced aerobic granular systems for wastewater treatment and biological nutrient recovery; anaerobic treatment of wastewater at ambient temperatures, using a variety of technologies from expanded beds to membrane systems; new methods for removal of trace pollutants using bio-sorbents; and design and optimisation of micro-algal treatment systems.

- Bioresources and bioenergy:  we have extensive expertise in anaerobic digestion, ranging from microbial aspects to energy balance modelling across a wide variety of systems and substrates.  Key topics in bioenergy include CO2 biomethanisation and microbial fuel cells. Biorefinery technologies are focused on production and extraction of building block chemicals to support the creation of a sustainable circular bioeconomy.

Biorefinery Technology

To find out more, please visit our Water Engineering website:

Contact us


Water and Environmental Engineering

B178 Boldrewood Campus

University of Southampton SO16 7QF




Masters level - taught programmes

The Faculty offers taught MSc programmes where students can choose modules in water and environmental engineering

MSc Civil Engineering

MSc Sustainable Energy Technologies

MSc Energy and Sustainability (Energy Environment and Buildings)

Postgraduate Research (PGR)

If you are considering doing a PhD in one of our research areas, please contact:

Water engineering: Dr Gustavo de Almeida

Eco-hydraulics: Prof Paul Kemp

Bioenergy and organic resources: Dr Yongqiang Liu , Dr Yue Zhang

We offer excellent Postgraduate Research programmes

These include opportunities for PhD research on all aspects of environmental engineering as well as participation in the Faculty's Centres for Doctoral Training. 

Details of the PhD programme in the Department can be found at



List of related projects to Water and Environmental Engineering Group
Related ProjectsStatus
Clean water and green energy from waste using bubble acousticsActive
Development of anaerobic support particles for effective membrane cleaning for submerged anaerobic membrane bioreactors, AnMBRActive
ICAReS project (Innovation Cluster Acceleration Remote Sensing)Active
Evaluation of a reticulated foam bioreactorActive
Development of options for damage limitation and environmental restoration of mercury-contaminated areas in north-central KazakhstanActive
Satellite image processing techniques for effective management of land use and irrigation demand in the Aral basin - INTAS AralActive
Advanced Waste Gasification/Pyrolysis for Bio-energy (Bio-syngas or Bio-oil) ProductionActive
FOUL-X-SPEL (Environmentally friendly antifouling technology to optimise the energy efficiency of ships)Active
Developing the Potential for CO2 Capture and Utilisation in Hybrid Anaerobic DigestersActive
Biomethanisation of CO2 in Anaerobic Digestion PlantsActive
Study of the parameters for optimisation of the design and performance of waste stabilisation ponds in extreme continental climates Active
SUE Waste Project 3 - Appropriate scales and technologies for bioprocessing of organic urban wastes including energy production from anaerobic digestionActive
Study of the mercury of the River NuraActive
Hydrogen and methane production from wastewater with microbial granular sludgeActive
Optimising processes for the stable operation of food waste digestionActive
Environmental Optimisation of the Production of Bricks and Tiles at Honey Lane, SelborneActive
Enhancing Mercury Capture by wet FGD SystemsActive
Bioganix Demonstrator Project - Research, Monitoring and EvaluationActive
Lockerley Water Farm - intermittent loading algal pond systemActive
Measuring stability of digestates from AD of source-segregated biodegradable waste and manuresActive
Assessment of how landfilling could affect the ecology of the far-field aquatic environmentActive
TRIF PS - Particle size requirements for effective bioprocessing of biodegradable municipal wasteActive
BV Dairies KTPActive
Comparative evaluation of mesophilic and thermophilic digestion of source segregated domestic food wasteActive
Integrated Systems for Farm Diversification into Energy Production by Anaerobic Digestion: Implications for Rural Development, Land Use & EnvironmentActive
Industrial Collaboration for Promoting SustainabilityActive
Zero Leakage 2050Active
Development of low-cost methods for treatment and reuse of drainage and urban wastewater by adaptation of waste stabilisation ponds for extreme continental climatesActive
Creation of a network of scientists and engineers for sustainable management of the water resources of the Aral basinActive
Study of the equilibrium and kinetics of mercury sorption and desorption by power station fly ash and assessment of the role of ash in limiting the bio-availability of mercuryActive
All-Gas: Industrial scale demonstration of sustainable algae cultures for biofuel productionActive
CROPGEN - Renewable Energy from Crops and Agro-wastesActive
Treatment, Extraction and Reuse of Chemically Complex Alkaline Leachates from LandfillsActive
AmbiGas - Biogas production from high volume industrial effluents at ambient temperaturesActive
Water Availability and the Production of Biofuels - An Integrated AssessmentActive
Development of cost-effective methods for minimising risk from heavy metal pollution in industrial cities: A case study of mercury pollution in Pavlodar (TOXICMANAGEMENT)Active
Anaerobic degradation of renewable plasticsActive
Optimising Inputs and Outputs from Anaerobic Digestion ProcessesActive
Phosphorus in the perennial headwaters of chalk streamsActive
Aerobic granular sludge- formation mechanism, application and its scaling upActive
Production and extraction of C3 and C4 aliphatic carboxylic acids from the anaerobic digestion of waste blood as a model substrateActive
JAYHUN - Interstate water resource risk management: Towards a sustainable future for the Aral BasinActive
Biocycle - Research, Monitoring and Evaluation of the South Shropshire DigesterActive
Effective mass transfer of hydrogen into digester mixed liquor for biomethanisation of biogas CO2Active
System requirements for low-cost energy-efficient algal biomass cultivation for biofuel productionActive
Distribution and activity patterns of brown trout in a chalk riverActive
TRIF Auto - Evaluating the effect of autoclaving on the rate of bioprocessing of wasteActive
TRIF MBR - Anaerobic membrane reactor technology for biodegradable waste stabilisationActive
VALORGAS - Valorisation of food waste to biogasActive
Spring ponds - algal biomass systemsActive
TWINBAS - Twinning European and third countries river basins for development of integrated water resources management methodsActive
Improving fish passage at low-head river barriersActive
EU - China Cooperation for Liquid Fuels Active
Investigating the combined effects of environmental pollutantsDormant
The impact of tide gates on fish migrationDormant
Share this research group Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings