The Sustainable Environment Research Centre undertakes national and world-leading research into waste treatment and the sustainable production of energy from waste and grown biomass. To achieve this, considerable investment has been made into the facilities available to researchers and students.
Waste Water Treatment and Fermentative Hydrogen Production Laboratory
This is a dedicated laboratory for the development and testing of lab scale bio-reactors. Research undertaken includes the optimisation of hydrogen and methane production from various waste substrates, and has been key to the successful development of several field-scale systems.
Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography Laboratory
SERC is one of only a handful of sites in the UK to be undertaking environmental research using state-of-the-art Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography / Mass Spectrometry (UPLC-MS). This analytical method provides highly accurate results to nano-gram concentrations. The equipment is currently being used to determine the nature and concentrations of breakdown products of a range of organic chemicals such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides, and how these may impact the environment or the operation of waste water treatment plants.
General Analytical Laboratory
SERC has a wide range of equipment to analyse soils, liquids and gases. This includes gas chromatography, ass spectrometry, automatic solid phase extraction (SPE), solid phase micro extraction (SPME), ion exchange chromatography, and a full range of ‘wet chemistry’ techniques. Our own lab technicians are available to help with method development, sample preparation and analysis.
Molecular Microbiology Laboratory
SERC is currently developing an in house molecular microbiology laboratory that will allow a range of molecular microbiological procedures to be undertaken. These include DNA/RNA isolation, Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (Real Time – PCR), DNA/RNA sequencing and genetic fingerprinting. Research undertaken in the facility will allow us to track the development of specific microbial species within bioreactors and other biological waste treatment facilities, and this knowledge will enable significant design and performance improvements to be made.
Our specialist in-house capabilities include mathematical modelling using MATLAB and life cycle analysis using SIMAPro6. All of our academic staff and researchers benefit from state of the art desk top computing facilities to support their work. In addition, staff have access to the University network, academic journals and databases, and the full range of software and hardware facilities across the campus.