News & Events

Three; it's a magic number Posted: 22/11/2009

A triple recruitment brings a triad of researchers to URSULA at the onset of the new academic year. Three new PhD students will work jointly with the team, generating research that will shed new light onto the interventions being studied within the project.

Left: Microhydro Scheme. Right: Neil Johnson
Neil Johnson (above right) will assess the acoustics of microhydro power generation sites at various flow and power outputs. With the pressing need for renewable energy, microhydro plants are increasingly being installed on weirs across the UK. Above left shows a Microhydro that has recently been fitted to a weir a New Mills in Derbyshire. Such research will help designers mitigate nuisance noise produced by the turbine; maximising power generation and minimising disturbance.

Left:Cat Leonard sampling a river, Right:A Brook Lamprey
And to make sure that we know the full impact of this new landmark of the riverscape, Cat Leonard (above left) will investigate the ecological impact of microhydro. How microhydro schemes affect the wildlife of rivers is a key question (e.g. species such as Brook Lamprey pictured above right), the answer of which is vital to inform planners where and how to use microhydro without compromising the ecological value derived from rivers.

Chih Wei sampling a river in Taiwan
Thirdly, Chih-Wei Tsai (right) also follows the theme of investigating the impact of utilising rivers for human benefit with a project that will examine a second type of usage of rivers; that of a source of cooling. Rivers have long provided a mechanism for cooling industrial processes. As a consequence heat is exchanged with river water which when returned into the river can warm the overall water temperature. Indeed the more industrial lengths of the Don are famous for its fig trees, more commonly seen in the Mediterranean than cool northern England, that are suggested to have germinated thanks to heated water flowing into the river from Sheffield's steelworks.