Current research interests are in the use of biological systems for energy production, biomass production for biorefineries and pollution remediation.
Renewable energy production through anaerobic digestion: Comparative performance of a range of process configurations and operating regimes for biowaste and energy crop substrates, including single and multi-phase operation; high and low solids contents; and mesophilic and thermophilic temperatures. The aim is to identify to optimum systems in terms of specific and volumetric methane yields to support the analysis of overall energy production potential.
Algal systems: This builds on EU-funded work in central Asia on factors affecting the performance of waste stabilisation ponds. The results have led to novel approaches based on designing for seasonal variation and local climate conditions. The research has now developed into the broader theme of non-steady state conditions, with much wider applications:
- Algal biomass for renewable energy and biorefinery product generation
- Light penetration in pure and mixed algal cultures
- Growth of other microbial groups, such as purple non-sulphur bacteria
- Oxygen productivity as an indicator of the health of algal systems
- Simple and complex climate-based models for design and performance of algal systems in different regions
- Integration into water conservation and irrigation schemes
Waste management: Projects include the EPSRC-funded SUE Waste Consortium and the Defra New Technologies programme, looking mainly at quantitative and systems-related aspects (e.g. energy footprinting, waste audit and logistics).