Research Projects

Simon's specialist research area is the application of membrane and chemical processes to municipal and industrial water and wastewater treatment.

Detailed examples of recent research (since 2010) include:

  • Clogging and ragging propensity determination in membrane bioreactors

    This very significant body of work, both in terms of effort and outcomes, was conducted across three discrete projects – for two US and one UK client. The work encompassed both pilot-scale studies of an immersed hollow fibre MBR and a survey of full-scale flat-sheet installations. The work led to a number of papers in leading peer-reviewed journals (Stefanski et al, 2011; Zsirai et al, 2012; Buzatu et al, 2012; Zsirai et al, 2014).

  • MBR aeration efficiency and costs

    This work, sponsored by a UK water utility, was based on a pilot-scale study of an immersed hollow fibre MBR and included supplementary mathematical modelling in collaboration with Gent University. The experimental work provided corroboration of the model (Verrecht et al, 2010a; Maere et al, 2011) as well as validation of the efficacy of intermittent membrane air scouring (Verrecht et al, 2011). A widely-cited cost analysis of a large MBR was also presented as part of this work (Verrecht et al, 2010b).

  • Micropollutants rejection by membrane processes

    A research project was conducted as part of the extensive UK National ‘Chemicals Investigation Programme’, which aimed to establish the fate of micropollutants in wastewater treatment installations. The work included a diagnosis of a full-scale reuse plant for metals fate (Garcia et al, 2013a) as well as an assessment of pharmaceuticals rejection by RO and NF membranes at pilot scale (Garcia et al, 2013b). This project was preceded by a review of metals fate in CAS and MBR plants (Santos and Judd, 2010) and pilot-scale studies of the fate of pharmaceuticals in MBR plants (Reif et al, 2011; Santos et al, 2011).

  • Reuse of municipal wastewater

    A series of projects, sponsored by a UK water utility and conducted at a demonstration plant based on one of their wastewater treatment works, examined various technologies for wastewater reuse. Technologies studied included MF-RO (Raffin et al, 2011ab, 2012), coagulation (Hatt et al, 2011b), microscreening (Hatt et al, 2011b), activated carbon (Hatt et al, 2013ab) and advanced oxidation (James et al, 2014). The scope of the study permitted a cost analysis of the various technologies challenged with the most recalcitrant micropollutant (metaldehyde) in the final paper by James et al.