Europe’s ‘largest’ sewage research facility opened in UK

A research facility allowing scientists to discover more sustainable and affordable ways to treat wastewater has been launched. Newcastle University’s new Biological Engineering: Wastewater Innovation at Scale (BE:WISE) facility – […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A research facility allowing scientists to discover more sustainable and affordable ways to treat wastewater has been launched.

Newcastle University’s new Biological Engineering: Wastewater Innovation at Scale (BE:WISE) facility – claimed to be the largest of its kind in Europe – aims to develop new solutions in low energy, low carbon wastewater treatment.

Based at Northumbrian Water’s sewage treatment plant in Gateshead, the £1.7 million facility will play a key role in moving from expensive and inefficient treatment processes to cheaper, low carbon alternatives.

The BE:WISE facility will allow experiments to run using 10,000 times more microbes than is possible in the lab, helping researchers to better understand how processes work at larger scales.

This will allow them to test and replicate different elements of the wastewater treatment process so new ways of treating wastewater can be developed.

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Newcastle University and Northumbrian Water, the plant will be available to researchers from around the world.

Professor Nick Wright, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Newcastle University, said: “Sustainable and affordable wastewater treatment requires new technology and new thinking but many potential solutions never make it past the lab due to the cost and uncertainty involved in working at a larger scale.”