Water pollution bioremediation

Water pollution bioremediation

Water pollution bioremediation

Introduction

Heavy metal pollution from old industrial sites is a significant issue worldwide. In the UK some 1,500km of rivers are affected by it, and in post-industrial areas like Devon and Cornwall there are elevated levels of cadmium and zinc in streams and rivers. These metals persist in the environment and can accumulate in the food chain. Typical bioremediation systems, which use micro-organisms to capture or convert contaminants into less toxic forms, can be complicated and expensive – and do not engage local communities in their roll-out.

2020 Award

Brenda Parker (CF 2014) is a lecturer in biochemical engineering at University College London. Since her Fellowship, she has been researching algal bioremediation.

Brenda has been awarded one of our Activate grants to prototype a sustainable bioremediation system. This uses ceramic tiles inlaid with algae, a natural micro-organism that can help to capture contaminants in water. Additionally, by collaborating with architects, Brenda hopes to show that these ceramic tile-based systems can be beautiful as well as functional. In the first year, Brenda will create a set of design prototypes to test in the laboratory. She will experiment with different clay composites, techniques of glazing for the tiles, and various materials for immobilising algae. She will form a social enterprise to work with communities in areas affected by water pollution. In addition she will write a publication to disseminate her findings, describing design methodologies for working with bioremediation. Brenda hopes this will have positive impacts on communities and ecosystems. She aims to communicate best practice through published articles, and would like to see her ideas for the design of bioremediation systems adopted elsewhere by water charities and NGOs.

Brenda’s Fellowship to Mongolia, China and India explored biological approaches to land and water restoration.

2020 Award

Brenda Parker (CF 2014) is a lecturer in biochemical engineering at University College London. Since her Fellowship, she has been researching algal bioremediation.

Brenda has been awarded one of our Activate grants to prototype a sustainable bioremediation system. This uses ceramic tiles inlaid with algae, a natural micro-organism that can help to capture contaminants in water. Additionally, by collaborating with architects, Brenda hopes to show that these ceramic tile-based systems can be beautiful as well as functional. In the first year, Brenda will create a set of design prototypes to test in the laboratory. She will experiment with different clay composites, techniques of glazing for the tiles, and various materials for immobilising algae. She will form a social enterprise to work with communities in areas affected by water pollution. In addition she will write a publication to disseminate her findings, describing design methodologies for working with bioremediation. Brenda hopes this will have positive impacts on communities and ecosystems. She aims to communicate best practice through published articles, and would like to see her ideas for the design of bioremediation systems adopted elsewhere by water charities and NGOs.

Brenda’s Fellowship to Mongolia, China and India explored biological approaches to land and water restoration.